Crude Oil Surge Pushes Stocks Higher

Crude Oil Surge Pushes Stocks Higher

NEW YORK (AP) -- Stocks are jumping Monday as the price of oil surges, lifting energy stocks as well as mining and chemicals companies. The stock market is coming off its best week of the year and has recovered its losses from earlier in the month.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 215 points, or 1.3 percent, to 16,607 as of 12:25 p.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 25 points, or 1.3 percent, to 1,942. The Nasdaq composite advanced 62 points, or 1.4 percent, to 4,566. The Dow and S&P 500 are still down about 5 percent this year.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude climbed $1.80, or 6.1 percent, to $31.44 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, rose $1.49, or 4.5 percent, to $34.50 a barrel in London. The price of wholesale gasoline and heating oil also climbed.

Chevron gained $2.22, or 2.6 percent, to $88.72 and drilling rig company Ensco picked up 64 cents, or 7.8 percent, to $8.87. Marathon Oil added 57 cents, or 8.5 percent, to $7.31.

U.S. oil prices have risen about 20 percent since Feb. 11. Still, the price of oil is down about 70 percent since the middle of 2014. The International Energy Agency said Monday that it doesn't expect oil prices to recover significantly until 2017.

MATERIALS STOCKS: Chemicals and mining companies also rose as investors interpreted the increased price of oil as a sign the global economy is solid. Alcoa rose 90 cents, or 11.4 percent, to $8.77 and Freeport-McMoran added 89 cents, or 12.9 percent, to $7.81. Dow Chemical rose $1.21, or 2.6 percent, to $48.29.

RETAIL POP: Consumer stocks made large gains. The biggest went to e-commerce company Amazon, which climbed $23.72, or 4.4 percent, to $558.62. Automakers rose, as GM picked up 61 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $29.40 and Ford added 35 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $12.45. Starbucks gained 93 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $58.60 after the coffee chain said it will change its rewards programs so shoppers who spend less money won't get as many freebies.

TIMBER: Lumber Liquidators plunged $2.24, or 15.8 percent, to $11.97 after the U.S. government said people exposed to some types of its laminate flooring were three times as likely to get cancer as it had originally predicted. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says the risk of cancer is six to 30 cases per 100,000 people. It previously estimated two to nine cases per 100,000 people.

Lumber Liquidators has plunged 80 percent over the last year after CBS's news show "60 Minutes" reported that those floors contain high levels of the carcinogen formaldehyde.

EUROPE: European stocks rose as investors hoped for more steps to stimulate the European Union economy. This week, finance ministers from the Group of 20 major rich and developing economies will meet, and they could take new steps to shore up global growth.

Germany's DAX gained 2 percent and France's CAC-40 added 1.8 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 1.5 percent.

THEY GO TOGETHER: "Stock market prices and oil prices have been tracking each other like a shadow through the first part of the year," said Michael Scanlon, managing director and portfolio manager for John Hancock Asset Management.

Scanlon said that usually doesn't happen for long stretches. He said the market is rising and falling with oil prices because when prices go down, investors get tend to get concerned about the health of the global economy, and when oil prices rise, they are reassured.

EUROPE: European stocks rose as investors hoped for more steps to stimulate the European Union economy. This week, finance ministers from the Group of 20 major rich and developing economies will meet, and they could take new steps to shore up global growth.

Germany's DAX gained 1.8 percent and France's CAC-40 added 1.6 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 1.5 percent.

DATA CENTER DEAL: Data center operator Equinix will buy European competitor TelecityGroup for $3.3 billion. Equinix has more than 100 data centers in 15 countries, and will gain TelecityGroup's 39 facilities in 11 European countries.

Equinix stock added $3.40, or 1.1 percent, to $302.77.

EAT UP: Food service company Sysco Corp. said it will buy Europe's Brakes Group for $3.1 billion. Last year Sysco gave up on an effort to buy U.S. Foods for $3.35 billion after the Federal Trade Commission opposed the deal. Sysco gave up $2.67, or 5.9 percent, to $42.32.

INSURERS RISE: Health insurers UnitedHealth and Humana climbed after the government released a policy update for a key type of plan. According to analysts, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will raise Medicare Advantage plan rates by about 3.5 percent.

Medicare Advantage plans are privately-run versions of the government's Medicare program for people who are over 65 or disabled. They offer basic Medicare coverage along with extras like vision or dental coverage or lower premiums.

UnitedHealth stock gained $4.04, or 3.4 percent, to $121.72 and Humana rose $4.18, or 2.5 percent, to $169.52.

HEALTHY QUARTER: Botox maker Allergan climbed after its quarterly results surpassed Wall Street projections. The stock rose $8.10, or 2.9 percent, to $283.85.

BRITAIN: The pound fell 1.7 percent as London Mayor Boris Johnson said he believes Britain should leave the European Union. Prime Minister David Cameron wants to keep the country within the 28-nation bloc, and voters will hold a referendum in June.

Analysts say the "stay" campaign is still likely to win, but the prospect of prolonged uncertainty is unnerving some investors.

The pound fell to $1.416 from $1.441 on Friday.

CURRENCY: Bond prices slipped, and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 1.77 percent from 1.75 percent. The euro fell to $1.1025 from $1.1135 late Friday and the dollar rose to 113.16 yen from 112.56 yen.

(KA)