U.S. stocks closed sharply higher on Monday after a key Federal Reserve official advised “prudence” with regards to interest rates.
“I think there is a bit of a sigh of relief because a dovish Fed official came out and was dovish,” said Anna Rathbun, director of research for CBIZ Retirement Plan Services. “There is general nervousness within the market, despite what’s going on today, about the effectiveness of central bank policy.”
Fed Governor Lael Brainard — a voting member of the central bank’s policymaking committee — said in a speech that, while economic progress continues, it would be wise for the Fed to keep monetary policy loose.
“She resurrected some of the concerns for why the Fed shouldn’t raise rates,” said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial. “We now go back to a thesis where the Fed wants to raise rates for other reasons,” She also said “it’s hard to see Janet Yellen come out and raise rates” next week.
The Dow Jones industrial average advanced more than 200 points after Brainard’s speech, with 3M and IBM contributing the most gains.
“For the most part, i think market participants continue to remain a little worried,” said Chris Gaffney, president of EverBank World Markets. “I think the data don’t support a rate increase.” “This feels more like a relief that a September rate hike is probably off the table, especially after these dovish remarks.”
The S&P 500 closed more than 1 percent higher, with telecoms rising 2 percent.
“You saw, shortly after the open, telecoms and utilities leading,” said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist at Boston Private Wealth. “That tells me there was some bargain hunting.” He noted that telecommunications and utilities were two of the sectors hit the hardest on Friday.
“Take a look at some of the sectors that are underperforming today. If you start to see solid gains in those, then Friday’s sell-off means a little less,” he said.
The Nasdaq composite outperformed, trading about 1.5 percent higher, as Apple and the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) rose about 2.2 percent and 3 percent, respectively. The IBB was on pace to post its best trading day since July 6.
The three major indexes opened lower, but quickly turned positive in early trade ET.
“We know for a fact that the market doesn’t like uncertainty and now you have two major sources of uncertainty looming,” said Adam Sarhan, CEO at Sarhan Capital. “There are concerns over what’s going on with the Fed and the election.”
Katie Stockton, chief technical strategist at BTIG, said in a Monday note to clients that “global equity markets are under pressure today following Friday’s gap down in the U.S. stock market. The SPX is poised for downside follow-through this week because it is not yet oversold from a short-term perspective.”
Fears that the U.S. central bank may raise rates this month sent overseas equity markets lower, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 and China’s Shanghai composite closing 1.73 percent lower and 1.85 percent lower, respectively. European stocks also fell, with the Stoxx 600 index falling about 1 percent.
U.S. futures briefly pointed to a sharply lower open before paring losses after a Fed official delivered remarks about the U.S. economy and the Fed’s upcoming meeting on Sept. 20-21.
Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart — a nonvoting member of the Fed’s policymaking committee — said a “serious discussion” on raising rates is warranted at the central bank’s upcoming meeting.
“It appears to me that his comments wee a little less hawkish than other Fed officials, but still pointing to a rate hike,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial.
Lockhart delivered his speech after a slew of his colleagues made several hawkish remarks, including Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren. On Friday, Rosengren said that low interest rates are increasing the chance of overheating the U.S. economy. Gradually tightening monetary policy is appropriate to maintaining full employment, he added.
U.S. stocks closed sharply lower on Friday, with the three major indexes posting their worst day since June 24, when the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.
“The market had been in a sideways consolidation period with very little volatility,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab. “When the market gets into a period like that, it becomes very sensitive to news events.”
The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, rose nearly 40 percent Friday, but fell more than 13 percent Monday, to 15.17.
First Standard’s Cardillo noted that September is a historically volatile month and that the market is “going through a normal pullback. I think Friday was the beginning of that.” He also said jitters about the U.S. election were weighing on equities.
Hillary Clinton left Sunday’s 9/11 memorial at ground zero after she felt “overheated,” according to her campaign. She had to be helped into van. A note from her doctor released later Sunday said she had been diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday.
Clinton was taken to daughter Chelsea’s New York apartment. About two hours later, she emerged and told onlookers: “It’s a beautiful day in New York.” She said she was “feeling better,” according to NBC News.
The Democratic nominee’s lead over her GOP counterpart Donald Trump has narrowed recently, according to data from RealClearPolitics.
In an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Trump said Fed Chair Janet Yellen should be “ashamed” of what she’d doing to the country, adding the Fed is not even close to being independent.
Meanwhile, oil prices erased earlier losses, with U.S. crude settling 0.89 percent higher at $46.29 per barrel.
U.S. Treasurys traded higher, with the two-year note yield near 0.77 percent and the 10-year note yield around 1.67 percent. The U.S. dollar traded lower against a basket of currencies, with the euro near $1.1235 and the yen around 101.84.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 239.62 points, or 1.32 percent, to close at 18,325.07, with Wal-Mart leading advancers and DuPoint the only laggard.
The S&P 500 rose 31.23 points, or 1.47 percent, to 2,159.04, with telecoms leading all sectors higher.
The Nasdaq advanced 85.98 points, or 1.68 percent, to 5,211.89.
About three stocks advanced for every decliner at the New York Stock Exchange, with an exchange volume of 1.004 billion and a composite volume 3.905 billion at the close.
Gold futures for December delivery fell $8.90 to settle at $1,325.60 per ounce