The Nasdaq 100 Index powered to its best day in six months as U.S. equities roared into March amid signs that the world’s largest economy remains on firm footing and foreign central banks stand poised to do what’s needed to shore up sluggishness abroad.
American factories looked set to emerge from a year-long slump, while monthly gains at major carmakers showed consumers stepping up spending a day after China added to stimulus, alleviating anxieties that had sent U.S. shares to the worst start to a year on record. Banks and technology stocks paced gains Tuesday, as companies hardest hit during the rout continued a three-week rebound.
The S&P 500 climbed 2.4 percent, the most in a month, to 1,978.01 at 4 p.m. in New York, the highest close since Jan. 6 after sliding 0.8 percent on Monday to cap a third straight monthly drop. The gauge has trimmed its 2016 decline to 3.2 percent, down from more than 10 percent. The Nasdaq 100 gained 3.2 percent, the most since Aug. 26.
Equities extended an opening advance after a report showed factory activity in February shrank less than forecast, as gains in new orders and production provided signs that the beleaguered industry could soon stabilize. Another report showed spending on all construction projects, private and public, rose 1.5 percent in January, the most since May.