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Stocks rally on Wall Street, S&P 500 has best day since June

More than 90 percent of the stocks tracked by the index rose.
In this photo provided by the New York Stock Exchange, specialist Dilip Patel, center, works with traders on the floor, Monday, March 1, 2021. Stocks are rising across the board on Wall Street as traders welcomed a move lower in long-term interest rates in the bond market. Investors were also watching Washington as a big economic stimulus bill moved to the Senate. (Courtney Crow/New York Stock Exchange via AP)
In this photo provided by the New York Stock Exchange, specialist Dilip Patel, center, works with traders on the floor, Monday, March 1, 2021. Stocks are rising across the board on Wall Street as traders welcomed a move lower in long-term interest rates in the bond market. Investors were also watching Washington as a big economic stimulus bill moved to the Senate. (Courtney Crow/New York Stock Exchange via AP) [ COURTNEY CROW | AP ]
Published Mar. 1
Updated Mar. 1

Wall Street kicked off March with a broad rally Monday that sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average more than 600 points higher and gave the S&P 500 its best day in nine months.

The S&P 500 climbed 2.4 percent, clawing back nearly all of its losses from last week. More than 90 percent of the stocks in the benchmark index rose, with technology, financial and industrial companies powering a big share of the S&P 500′s gains. Small company stocks also had a strong showing as they continue to outpace the broader market this year.

The wave of buying came as investors welcomed a move lower in long-term interest rates as U.S. bond yields declined after surging in recent weeks. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 1.43 percent after reaching its highest level in more than a year last week.

Higher interest rates can slow the economy and discourage borrowing, so Wall Street gets jittery when there’s a big surge in rates.

“It moved really fast, the interest rate rise, and now it’s sort of leveling out so people are relieved that it’s not continuing to move up at a really fast pace,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager with Globalt Investments.

The S&P 500 rose 90.67 points to 3,901.82, it’s biggest single-day gain since June 5. The Dow gained 603.14 points, or about 2 percent, to 31,535.51. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite climbed 396.48 points, or 3 percent, to 13,588.83.

Smaller company stocks continued to rally, a sign that investors are feeling more confident about the economy’s prospects for growth. The Russell 2000 index picked up 74.27 points, or 3.4 percent, to 2,275.32.

After a strong start to the month, stocks turned lower in the last couple of weeks of February after a sudden, rapid rise in bond yields fueled concerns about higher inflation. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed as high as 1.5 percent last week, the highest level in more than a year, before easing Friday.

Bond yields, which can influence rates on mortgages and many other kinds of loans, have been steadily climbing this year, as investors bet that vaccination efforts and more government stimulus will lead to strong economic growth this year. However, along with strong economic growth comes concerns of inflation.

Investors also had their eye on Washington Monday as a big economic stimulus bill advanced to the Senate. The House of Representatives approved Biden’s $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill on Friday. The bill infuses cash across the struggling economy to individuals, businesses, schools, states and cities battered by COVID-19.

Johnson & Johnson rose 0.5 percent after the Food and Drug Administration gave approval for the company’s own coronavirus vaccine, one that does not require extensive refrigeration like the ones made by Moderna and Pfizer.

Technology and financial companies made some of the biggest gains. Apple surged 5.4 percent and Citigroup rose 5.6 percent. Companies that rely on consumer spending also fared well. Etsy jumped 11 percent and cosmetics retailer Ulta Beauty gained 4.7 percent.

—By DAMIAN J. TROISE and ALEX VEIGA