U.S. stocks marched higher, with the Dow industrials looking at a 100-point rally, as Wall Street appeared to become inured to the prospect of an increase of benchmark interest rates in 2016.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 117 points, or 0.6%, at 18,512, led by a rise in Travelers Cos. Inc. and banks, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. . Shares of Walt Disney Co. led blue-chip losers.
The S&P 500 index rose 12 points, or 0.6%, at 2,181. All 10 of the large-cap benchmark’s 10 sectors were in positive territory. Financials, which tend to benefit in a rising interest-rate environment, gained the most among sectors, up 1%.
Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index added 21 points, or 0.4%, to trade at 5,240.
Monday’s trade follows comments from the Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, who said last Friday in Jackson Hole, Wyo., that she is seeing signs of improvement in the U.S. economy and hinted a rate increase is in the cards in coming months. Those remarks were underscored by Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer who said during a CNBC interview on the same day that Yellen’s speech was “consistent” with possibly two rate hikes this year.
Stocks have prospered amid low-rate monetary policies that have fostered a multiyear bull market, but fear of an end of this accommodative environment has weighed on the equity market amid rate-hike talk.
However, the belief is that Fed actions are being driven by economic growth that is steady, if not stellar.
“We have unemployment under 5%. There is no reason why the Fed should not move [to raise interest rates]. They are so close to their collective target[s] that having rates at this low doesn’t make any sense,” said Jonathan Golub, chief U.S. equity strategist at RBC Capital Markets. “And whether they do so in September or December is somewhat academic,” he said.
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