NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are climbing Monday afternoon after a Federal Reserve official said she's not eager to raise interest rates too soon, a possibility that had worried investors. After a market nosedive on Friday, investors are putting money into safe-play investments like household goods makers and phone companies. Technology companies are also higher.
KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 200 points, or 1.1 percent, to 18,285 as of 2:08 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 26 points, or 1.2 percent, to 2,154. The Nasdaq composite surged 73 points, or 1.4 percent, to 5,198.
BRAINARD POWER: Federal Reserve board member Lael Brainard said Monday that the Fed shouldn't raise interest rates too soon because higher rates could hurt the economy. U.S. stocks plunged about 2.5 percent Friday, their biggest loss in two months, after Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren said there's a case to be made the U.S. central bank should raise rates sooner rather than later.
Rosengren and Brainard have both been reluctant to raise rates too quickly, and if both of them had a change of heart, that would have meant it was much more likely the Fed will raise interest rates soon. The Fed's leaders will meet next week. Investors are not sure if the central bank will raise interest rates, and they're not sure the economy is healthy enough to handle that. Higher rates threaten stocks by making interest-paying savings accounts and bonds more attractive to investors. They could also ding corporate earnings by raising companies' borrowing costs.
SANCTUARY: Investors bought investments that they see as low-risk, including household goods companies. Retail giant Wal-Mart rose $1.35, or 1.9 percent, to $71.65 and toothpaste maker Colgate-Palmolive gained $1.37, or 1.9 percent, to $72.23. Phone companies also rose and AT&T gained 80 cents, or 2 percent, to $40.51.
FERTILE SOIL: Canadian companies Agrium and Potash Corp. of Saskachewan agreed to combine into the world's largest crop nutrient company. The companies value their combined business at $36 billion, and they expect the deal to close in the middle of next year. Potash shareholders will own a majority of stock in the new company. Potash stock lost 23 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $16.74 and Agrium dipped $2.81, or 3 percent, to $92.40.
CTRL+ALT+P: HP stock edged higher after the company agreed to buy Samsung's printer business for $1.05 billion. That division has more than 6,500 printing patents. HP rose 42 cents, or 4 percent, to $14.37. That helped take technology stocks higher. Elsewhere, Apple rose $1.71, or 1.7 percent, to $104.84 and Broadcom picked up $2.70, or 1.7 percent, to $163.48.
PERRI-GOING UP: Irish drug and ingredient maker Perrigo added $6.27, or 7.1 percent, to $94.98 after the activist investment firm Starboard Value bought a 4.6-percent stake in the company. Starboard Value said Perrigo needs to make changes to its business, including boosting profit margins for some of divisions, and notes that the company's stock hasn't done well since Perrigo rejected an offer from Mylan NV. Perrigo said it will review Starboard's comments.
OIL: U.S. crude rose 41 cents to $46.29 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the benchmark for international oil trading, climbed 31 cents to $48.32 a barrel in London.
Energy Transfer Pipeline fell 85 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $38.29. On Friday a federal judge ruled that the company can build a $3.8 billion pipeline that is intended to carry oil from North Dakota to Illinois. That sent the company's stock higher. But the federal government stepped in to temporarily stop the project and several agencies said they will reconsider some of their decisions. The Standing Rock Sioux tribe wants to stop construction of the pipeline, which comes within a mile of a reservation in southern North Dakota.
RAPTOR ROARS: Rare disease drugmaker Raptor Pharmaceutical Corp. climbed $1.51, or 20.3 percent, to $8.96 after Horizon Pharma said it will buy the company $9 per share, or about $768 million. Horizon added $1.41, or 8.2 percent, to $18.67.
TEXT ME BACK: Software company Open Text climbed $5.23, or 8.8 percent, to $65 after it said it will buy a unit of Dell EMC for $1.62 billion.
METALS: Gold fell $8.90 to $1,325.60 an ounce. Silver lost 37 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $19 an ounce. Copper gained 1 cent to $2.10 a pound.
OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX was down 1.3 percent while the CAC-40 in France also fell 1.2 percent. The FTSE 100 index of leading British shares gave up 1.1 percent. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 1.7 percent and South Korea's Kospi slid 2.3 percent. In Hong Kong the Hang Seng shed 3.4 percent.
BONDS, CURRENCIES: Bond prices rose and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.67 percent from 1.68 percent. The dollar fell to 101.80 yen from 102.69 yen late Friday. The euro edged up to $1.1239 from $1.1228.