Energy, materials stocks drive Wall Street rally | Reuters

Energy, materials stocks drive Wall Street rally
| Reuters

Wall Street was higher on Monday as prices of oil and other commodities surged, pointing to an uptick in investors' risk appetite following a rout in global markets.

The recovery in commodity prices comes on the heels of recent data pointing to a strengthening of the U.S. economy, which has helped stabilize the market.

The S&P 500 has risen 4.1 percent in the past five days, including Monday's gains, spurred by better-than-expected jobs and inflation data.

However, the index is still down 5.08 percent for the year, moving lock-step with oil prices, which are hovering near 12-year lows.

"Sentiment is clearly on edge and I think the market's move has been outsized, relative to actual changes in fundamentals," said Aaron Clark, a portfolio manager at GW&K Investment Management in Boston.

"I think it's more of a growth scare which is getting magnified by the moves in financial markets," he said, adding that the prevailing uncertainty would add to volatility.

U.S. crude prices were up more than 6 percent, while prices of industrial metals such as copper and zinc rose as investors worried about potential shortages.

At 11:04 a.m. ET (1604 GMT), the S&P 500 was up 23.32 points, or 1.22 percent, at 1,941.1, just shy of 1,950, a key technical level.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 192.65 points, or 1.18 percent, at 16,584.64, and the Nasdaq Composite index 51.93 points, or 1.15 percent, at 4,556.36.

All 10 major S&P sectors were higher, led by a 2.11 percent rise in the materials sector. Freeport-McMoRan gave the biggest boost with a 14.2 percent increase.

Investors are also keeping a close eye on the U.S. Federal Reserve for its next move on interest rates.

While Fed Chair Janet Yellen has indicated the central bank would stick to its rate hike program, policymakers appear at odds and traders have all but given up on a hike this year.

Shares of Fitbit were up 3.1 percent at $16.08 ahead of its results later in the day.

UnitedHealth and other health insurers including Anthem, Humana and Aetna were up after the U.S. government proposed raising payments to health insurers who offer Medicare Advantage health benefits to elderly and disabled Americans.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2,482 to 461. On the Nasdaq, 1,957 issues rose and 658 fell.

The S&P 500 index showed 17 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 32 new highs and 17 lows.

(Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

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Updated Date: Feb 22, 2016 23:30:13 IST

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