February 26, 2021

Stocks Surge 3 Percent

Stocks in the United States powered higher on Tuesday, fueled by a rise in energy shares and speculation about possible economic stimulus later this week.

It was the second consecutive day of gains for many stocks after weeks of sell-offs and turmoil driven by concerns over slowing economic growth and the widening impact of sovereign debt problems.

While Tuesday was a day with both good and bad economic reports, investors sought out buying opportunities on the possibility of government aid coming out of a Federal Reserve symposium on Friday. New economic data in Asia and Europe also helped support a feeling that those economies were not as bad off as believed.

“The market is down so much in the last week or two,” said Brian M. Youngberg, an energy analyst at Edward Jones. “When the risk seems to come down a bit, many investors get back in it.”

He also said there were increased expectations of some kind of economic stimulus from the Friday gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

“It is lifting optimism in general,” he said. “Investors are jumping back in head first.”

Still, many analysts questioned whether the bargain-hunting and surge in stocks would last.

At the 4 p.m. close of trading on Wall Street, the Standard Poor’s 500-stock index was up 38.53 points, or 3.43 percent, at 1,162.45. The Dow Jones industrial average added 322.11 points, or 2.97 percent, to 11,176.76. The Nasdaq composite index added 100.68 points, or 4.29 percent, at 2,446.06.

The 10-year benchmark Treasury bond yield rose to 2.149.

Stocks had been trading solidly higher for most of the day but lost some of their momentum shortly after the East Coast earthquake around 2 p.m., with the Dow losing about 50 points of its gains.

Some people at the New York Mercantile Exchange briefly left the building but there was no official call to evacuate and work was not interrupted. There were no reports of a halt in trading operations elsewhere.

Traders seemed to shake off their jitters quickly, and stock indexes were back up to the day’s highs within a half-hour.

Markets in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region also mainly rose earlier as investors interpreted a wide variety of economic statistics and awaited the Federal Reserve’s annual symposium later this week in Jackson Hole.

“The market has got in its head that any help from policy makers is desperately needed,” said Robert Buckland, global equity strategist at Citigroup in London. “People are clearly looking at Jackson Hole.” It was at that gathering last year that the Fed chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, signaled further stimulus in light of a similar slowdown of the American economy.

Major European stock markets were up about 1 percent, after a survey of purchasing managers’ expectations for output in the euro area showed no change, at a nearly two-year low.

“The market was factoring in worst-case scenarios for the economic slowdown,” said Russell Price, senior economist with Ameriprise Financial. “Things have slowed down but are not falling off a cliff.”

In addition, a survey of manufacturers in China showed factory activity had probably contracted slightly in August. The findings underpin the widely held perception that the giant Chinese economy is growing at a more moderate, yet still robust, pace than many other places.

Mr. Price noted that the China purchasing managers index was also better than expected, and that current retail data in the United States might be offsetting some of the weaker data from other sectors of the economy.

“We are not continuing to decline to another double-dip,” he said, but “just enough to offset the worst-case scenario.”

But expectations grew that the fighting in Libya could last longer than expected, setting back hope for a recovery of oil output there. Oil settled more than 1 percent higher at $85.44.

The energy index on the S. P. was up nearly 4 percent in the last half-hour of trading. Halliburton was up more than 7 percent and Exxon Mobil rose nearly 5 percent.

Materials shares, technology and consumer shares were also sharply higher. The financial sector, which had taken a battering in the past few weeks, rose more than 2 percent.

Contributing reporting were Julia Werdigier, Jack Ewing, Bettina Wassener and Eric Dash.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=69048b3de134ef55b2621f8aeb84d2d3

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