Nevada News Reporter

Stocks rally as the Dow jumps more than 250

Stocks rally as the Dow jumps more than 250

Stocks rallied Monday to kick off the week on a positive note as markets got a boost from several health care deals, encouraging economic data and comments from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. At midday, the Dow Jones industrial average was up more than 250 points, or 1.6%, to 17,993, putting the blue-chip index back into positive territory for the year.635633054667133494-GTY-467061908

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index jumped 1.3% and the Nasdaq composite index gained 1.1%. In a speech in San Francisco Friday, Yellen said the central bank will raise interest rates only gradually because of persistent slack in the labor market, the risks of another economic downturn and vestiges of the Great Recession.

She said that although the Fed doesn’t need inflation to pick up before raising its benchmark rate, a further significant weakening of inflation or wage growth would make her “uncomfortable” with a rate hike. The comments eased fears that the Fed would hike rates sooner than Wall Street has been anticipating.

Asian markets were higher as China’s Shanghai Composite soared 2.6% on hopes of additional economic stimulus. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.7% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index surged 1.5%. European shares were also higher as Britain’s FTSE 100 index rose 0.5% and Germany’s DAX index jumped 1.8%.