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Stocks climb more than 2% as investors get back to buying

by The Associated Press | March 1, 2021 at 12:06 p.m.
In this photo provided by the New York Stock Exchange, traders work 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.

The S&P 500 added 2.3% as of 11:25 a.m. More than 95% of the stocks in the index were higher, led by energy and technology companies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 642 points, or 2.1%, to 31,574 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 2.5%.

Much of the focus on Wall Street is on the bond market.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 1.43% after going as high as 1.5% last week, the highest level in more than a year. Higher interest rates can slow the economy and discourage borrowing.

Bond yields, which influence interest rates on mortgages and many other kinds of loans, have been steadily climbing much of the year, as investors have 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.

A handful high-level officials with the Federal Reserve will make speeches this week, which will give investors additional information on how concerned the nation's central bank is about the economy and inflation. Lael Brainard, an advocate for looser monetary policies, will give a monetary policy speech on Tuesday and Fed Chair Jerome Powell will give a speech on Thursday.

The House of Representatives approved Biden's $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill on Friday and it now goes to the Senate for approval. The bill infuses cash across the struggling economy to individuals, businesses, schools, states and cities battered by covid-19.

The stimulus bill would include yet another round of one-time payments to most Americans, including an expansion of other refundable tax credits like the child tax credit, and additional aid to state and local governments to combat the pandemic.

Johnson & Johnson rose 1.5% 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.

Energy companies made some of the biggest gains. Exxon Mobil rose 5% and Occidental Petroleum rose 4.9%. Industrial companies, including airlines beaten down by the virus pandemic, also helped boost the broader market. United Airlines rose 3.4%.

Investors will get several big economic reports this week, including February's jobs report on Friday. On Monday a report on manufacturing came in better than expectations, and new orders also came in better than expected.

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