The 97-percent vote in Crimea in favor of quitting Ukraine was
condemned as illegal by Kiev and the West, but the referendum passed
In response, the United States and European Union imposed personal
sanctions on Russian and Crimean officials involved in the seizure
of Crimea. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree
recognizing the region as a sovereign state.
The geopolitical tension had weighed on equities last week, with the
S&P 500 falling 2 percent and the CBOE Volatility index <.VIX>
jumping to its highest since early February on Friday.
Economically-sensitive sectors led the way higher on Monday, with
both technology <.SPLRCT> and industrials <.SPLRCI> up 1.3 percent.
Google Inc <GOOG.O> gained 1.6 percent to $1,192.10 while General
Electric Co <GE.N> rose 1.3 percent to $25.43.
"It's sort of a relief rally there was no real negative surprise (in
Ukraine). What happened was what was expected," said Terry Morris,
senior vice president and senior equity manager for National Penn
Investors Trust Company in Reading, Pennsylvania.
The advance continued a recent trend of investors using market
pullbacks as buying opportunities. Major indexes have not undergone
a sustained pullback in more than a year.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> rose 181.55 points or 1.13
percent, to 16,247.22, the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 17.7 points or 0.96
percent, to 1,858.83 and the Nasdaq Composite <.IXIC> added 34.552
points or 0.81 percent, to 4,279.949.
The U.S. Federal Reserve's massive stimulus has helped keep a floor
under equity prices, and market participants are looking ahead to a
two-day meeting of the Fed's policy-setting committee, which begins
In the latest economic data, manufacturing output recorded its
largest increase in six months in February and factory activity in
New York state expanded early this month.
"It looks like maybe we are thawing out a little bit in terms of the
economic indicators. The market has got it right, you don't have to
be a rocket scientist or a weatherman to figure out it's been a
tough winter," said Doug Foreman, co-chief investment officer of
Kayne Anderson Rudnick Investment Management in Los Angeles.
[to top of second column]
In company news, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd
<IPO-ALIB.N> said on Sunday it would begin the process toward a U.S.
initial public offering, ending months of speculation. Shares of
Yahoo Inc <YHOO.O>, which has a 24 percent stake in the company,
jumped 4 percent to $39.11, one of the best performers on the
benchmark S&P index.
JA Solar Holdings Co <JASO.O> shares advanced 2.1 percent to $11.66
after the company posted its first profit in 10 quarters and
forecast higher shipments for the year.
Giant Investment Ltd will acquire Chinese online gaming company
Giant Interactive Group Inc <GA.N> for $3 billion and take it
private, the companies said on Sunday. Shares of Giant rose 1.7
percent to $11.59.
Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc <ICPT.O> dropped 11.9 to $407.16. The
company said a trial showed patients taking its experimental liver
disease drug experienced a higher number of heart-related problems
than those given a placebo.
Volume was light, with about 5.21 billion shares traded on U.S.
exchanges, well below the 6.87 billion average so far this month,
according to data from BATS Global Markets.
Advancing stocks outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by 2,182 to
818, while on the Nasdaq, advancers beat decliners 1,669 to 936.
(Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; editing by Nick Zieminski)
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