Stocks see biggest gains since January, dollar rises after U.S. data

Tue Mar 1, 2016 2:44pm EST
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By Dion Rabouin

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks led equity markets around the globe to their highest in nearly two months on Tuesday after U.S. factory and housing data came in better than expected and oil prices rose.

Construction spending in the U.S. rose to the highest level since October 2007 and a measure of the U.S. manufacturing sector outpaced analysts' expectations across the board.

The data gave investors a greater sense of confidence and a bigger risk appetite, said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.

"The stimulus to better stock price action is signs that the U.S. economy is, in fact, doing better," James said.

U.S. stock markets rose 2 percent in afternoon U.S. trading with the S&P 500 posting its largest percentage gain since early January. [.N]

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 323.17 points, or 1.96 percent, to 16,839.67, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 39.69 points, or 2.05 percent, to 1,971.92 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 111.72 points, or 2.45 percent, to 4,669.67.

A global gauge of equity markets .MIWD00000PUS rose more than 1.6 percent, touching its highest level since Jan. 13.

European shares extended their strongest run of the year, underpinned by the prospect of the European Central Bank adding stimulus in the euro zone after soft factory data. The FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 gained nearly 1.5 percent. London's FTSE 100 .FTSE rose 0.9 percent.   Continued...

Traders work at their desks in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 1, 2016. REUTERS/Staff