U.S. stocks rose, after the biggest weekly gain since July for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as tensions eased over global conflicts and Dollar General Corp. rallied on merger activity.
Dollar General surged 10 percent after offering $9.7 billion for Family Dollar, which rallied 4.8 percent. Delta Air Lines Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. led gains among industrial companies as oil prices fell. Monster Beverage Corp. declined 3.2 percent, dropping from its highest price in at least 24 years, after Jefferies Group LLC downgraded the shares.
The S&P 500 increased 0.8 percent to 1,970.36 at 10:50 a.m. in New York, climbing to within 0.9 percent of an all-time high. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 152.04 points, or 0.9 percent, to 16,814.95. The Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 0.8 percent to the highest level since 2000. Trading in S&P 500 companies was 17 percent below the 30-day average for this time of the day.
“We’ve seen very good earnings, and geopolitical tensions are not as elevated at the moment,” Patrick Spencer, head of U.S. equity sales at Robert W. Baird & Co., said by phone. “There’s been a lot of talk about a correction for equities, but markets are already a couple of points off their highs.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin met his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov for more than five hours of talks in Berlin, as they sought to ease tension after officials in Kiev said troops had partially destroyed an armed convoy from Russia. Klimkin said the talks had brought “moderate progress,” though he called on Russia to follow words with actions.
The Federal Reserve is watching economic data to help gauge adjustments to monetary stimulus. The central bank remains on pace to wind down its monthly bond purchases in October. Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said officials will keep its benchmark interest rate low for a “considerable time” after the bond buying ends. The central bank releases minutes from its July meeting on Wednesday.
The following day, the Fed Bank of Kansas City begins its annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where leading economists and central bankers will discuss the outlook for the economy and monetary policy. Yellen and ECB President Mario Draghi are among the speakers at the conference, this year titled “Re-Evaluating Labor Market Dynamics.”
Previous conferences there have foreshadowed some of the Fed’s biggest policy shifts since the financial crisis. In 2010 and 2012, then-Chairman Ben S. Bernanke signaled new bond buying that has pumped up the Fed’s balance sheet to a record $4.43 trillion.
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