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US stocks surge on optimism over vaccines, stimulus

Wall Street stocks concluded their best session in months on Monday, shrugging off last week’s worries over inflation and rallying on optimism over coronavirus vaccines and US fiscal stimulus.

Wall Street stocks concluded their best session in months on Monday, shrugging off last week’s worries over inflation and rallying on optimism over coronavirus vaccines and US fiscal stimulus.

Major indices leapt at the open and remained in positive territory the entire day, led by the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index, which jumped 3.0 percent to close at 13,588.83, its best day since November.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 2.0 percent to end 31,535.51, while the broad-based S&P 500 gained 2.4 percent to 3,901.82, its best session since June.

It was a big reversal from last week, when a rise in US Treasury bond yields sparked worries about inflation and a sudden shift in Federal Reserve policy.

But with the turn of the calendar, “it looks like investors are getting back to work in stocks,” JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade, said in an analysis.

“Worries about higher interest rates seem to be waning — for now, anyway — as the 10-year Treasury pulls back, allowing stocks to rally on vaccine and stimulus optimism.”

Investors cheered the emergency use approval of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid-19 vaccine by US regulators over the weekend, giving the nation a third shot to battle the world’s worst outbreak.

The market also has been supported by expectations Washington will soon enact President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic aid package. The House approved the bill early Saturday, sending it to the Senate.

Beyond those factors, manufacturers reported strong growth in activity in February.

Among individual companies, Boeing surged 5.8 percent after United Airlines announced a contract with the aerospace giant to add 25 more 737 MAX jets in 2023, reflecting optimism about a recovery in the travel industry.

United rose 1.2 percent, joining other major carriers higher.

ExxonMobil advanced 3.7 percent as it named two new directors, including Jeffrey Ubben, cofounder of Inclusive Capital Partners and a leading proponent of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing.

The move comes as the oil giant faces pressure from mainstream investors as well as environmentalists to do more to advance renewable energy and address climate change.

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