Stocks surged Monday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested the U.S. central bank would continue its accommodative monetary policies and keep interest rates low, offsetting soft readings on the domestic economy.
Traders took Bernanke's comments, delivered in a speech to a group of economists, as an indication that the Fed's loose monetary policy is set to continue and further easing is still on the table.
Stocks were also lifted by a better-than-expected reading on Germany's business confidence, which rose to its highest level in nine months, according to Germany's Ifo Institute.
Two weak reports on the U.S. domestic economy failed to dampen investor sentiment. U.S. pending home sales in February unexpectedly declined 0.5 percent. Separately, manufacturing activity in the Texas area expanded at a slower pace this month than in February.
Stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared 152.16 points, erasing all of last week's losses, to close at 13,232.89. The benchmark S&P 500 index gained 18.58 points, to 1,415.69. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 51.01 points to 3,118.93. European markets closed higher, while Asian bourses were mixed.
Bonds. Treasurys ended the session nearly flat after showing a notable decline in morning trading. The yield on the benchmark 10-year note, which moves opposite of its price, closed at 2.244 percent after reaching a high of 2.287 percent.
Commodities. Precious metals turned sharply higher. Gold futures shined Monday advancing $23.20, or 1.4 percent, to end the day at a two-week high of $1,685.60 an ounce. Crude oil edged up 16 cents to settle at $107.03 a barrel. Corn dropped, and other agricultural commodities gained.
Currencies. The U.S. dollar weakened and the euro hit $1.336, its highest point in nearly a month. The ICE dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of major currencies, fell to a near one-month low of 78.9. Chile's peso and Brazil's real closed stronger.