The Dow Jones industrial average posted its biggest advance in eight weeks as equities extended quarterly gains amid corporate mergers and optimism central banks will support global growth.
Chevron, ExxonMobil, and JPMorgan Chase added more than 2.3 percent as oil companies and banks rallied. Catamaran jumped 24 percent after UnitedHealth Group agreed to buy it. Horizon Pharma rose 18 percent after saying it will acquire Hyperion Therapeutics. A Standard & Poor’s index of homebuilders climbed after pending home sales in February rose more than forecast.
The Dow climbed 263.65 points, or 1.5 percent, to 17,976.31 at 4 p.m. in New York, its best gain since Feb. 3. The S&P 500 index advanced 1.2 percent to 2,086.24, headed for its longest streak of quarterly increases since 1998. With a 0.2 percent increase on Friday, the index completed its first back-to-back gain after 28 days, the longest drought since 1994. The Nasdaq composite index rose 1.2 percent.
“There was the China central bank comment about stimulus overnight, the economic news this morning was a little bit mixed, and it seems people are putting cash to work thinking maybe earnings are going to come in better than expected,” Larry Peruzzi, the Boston-based director of international trading at Cabrera Capital Markets, said by phone. “The biggest thing in today’s market is there’s no huge negative.”
SOURCE: Oliver Renick