S&P, Dow post record closes, dollar hits 11-year high

Mon Mar 2, 2015 4:33pm EST
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stock prices rallied on Monday, with the Nasdaq composite crossing 5,000 for the first time in 15 years, while the dollar touched an 11-year high on expectations the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates later this year.

Wall Street kicked off March on a high note after a stellar February, when the benchmark S&P 500 Index registered its best monthly gain since October 2011. The S&P and Dow Jones industrial average posted record closing highs on Monday.

"We are still in a longer-term economic expansion. This bull market still has some room to go," said Jason Pride, director of investment strategy at Glenmede in Philadelphia.

Asian stocks ended higher after China cut interest rates over the weekend, but European equities slipped from seven-year highs hit on merger activity in the telecom sector.

China, which posted its slowest growth in decades in 2014, on Saturday cut its benchmark lending and deposit rates.

Brent crude futures fell nearly 5 percent in London to below $60 a barrel after Iran said a deal on its nuclear program could be reached this week if the West lifts sanctions, which could boost the country's oil exports.

Gold slipped from two-week highs as investors cashed in gains tied to upbeat Asian demand.

Expectations the U.S. central bank might end its near-zero interest rate policy as early as this summer remained despite data suggesting the world's biggest economy was losing some momentum.   Continued...

A man walks past the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square, August 23, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly