Wall Street was higher on Tuesday afternoon, extending a rally from Friday, as investors went bargain hunting among beaten-down consumer discretionary, industrial and financial stocks.
Even a drop in crude oil prices, which has dictated the stock market's move recently, failed to derail stocks. The energy sector was the lone laggard among the 10 major S&P sectors, as oil prices fell.
The consumer discretionary index's 1.93 percent rise led the advancers. The industrials, financials, technology and health sectors were also up more than 1 percent.
Banks again gained, led by Wells Fargo's 1.9 percent and Citigroup's 3.5 percent rise. The financial sector is on track to post two consecutive days of gains for just the third time this year.
Consumer discretionary, technology and health stocks are down more than 9 percent this year. Only the financials' 13 percent drop is worse.
Slumping oil prices, fears of a China-led slowdown in global growth, uncertainty over the central banks' monetary policies and unflattering U.S. corporate reports have roiled the markets this year. The S&P 500 is down about 7.7 percent in 2016.
"We are seeing some bargain hunting but it isn't enough as yet to reverse the negative sentiment," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities in New York.
Investors are holding the most cash since November 2001, which should be interpreted as an "unambiguous buy" signal, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch in its February global fund managers survey.
At 12:38 p.m. ET (1738 GMT) the Dow Jones industrial average was up 168.81 points, or 1.06 percent, at 16,142.65.
The S&P 500 was up 23.53 points, or 1.26 percent, at 1,888.31 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 76.26 points, or 1.76 percent, at 4,413.77.
Crude oil prices reversed course, with U.S. crude down 3.3 2 percent, as an agreement by four of the world's largest producers agreed to freeze output failed to satisfy investors hoping for an outright cut in supply. [O/R]
"We are also seeing a start to the conversation around production cuts in oil, but there's some way to go regarding that. It's a mixed bag for commodities," Hogan said.
Boeing was up 3 percent at $111.93 and was the biggest boost on the Dow.
ADT surged 48.98 percent to $40.03 after private equity firm Apollo Global Management agreed to buy the electronic security services provider for $7 billion. Apollo was up 4.5 percent at $14.
Community Health Systems slumped 28.2 percent to $13.40 and weighed on other hospital operators after posting an unexpected quarterly loss. Tenet Healthcare's 8.7 percent drop was the biggest on the S&P 500.
Groupon surged 40.1 percent to $4.05 after Alibaba disclosed a 32.9 million stake in the company. Alibaba was up 6.7 percent at $64.98.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,387 to 633. On the Nasdaq, 2,126 issues rose and 583 fell.
The S&P 500 index showed seven new 52-week highs and three new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 12 new highs and 52 new lows.
(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)
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