Stocks Rally amid Consumer Spending, Home Sales

U.S. stocks closed more than 1 percent higher on Monday, following encouraging news on consumer spending and home sales. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 263.65 points, or 1.49%, to 17,976.31. The S&P 500 gained 25.22 points, or 1.22%, to 2,086.24. The Nasdaq Composite added 56.22 points, or 1.15%, to 4,947.44.

Consumer purchases rose less than projected in February, indicating the biggest part of the U.S. economy will find it hard to sustain momentum after the best quarter since 2006. The 0.1 percent gain followed a 0.2 percent drop the prior month, Commerce Department figures showed Monday in Washington

Pending home sales jumped 3.1% in February, handily beating expectations of 0.3%. The index grew at its highest rate since August 2013. According to new data from Zillow (Z), the housing market will continue to soar this year.

Oil futures fell on Monday, pressured by expectations that talks over Iran’s nuclear program could result in an easing of sanctions against the crude exporter. Crude for delivery in May fell 19 cents, or 0.4%, to close at $48.68 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Gold futures settled lower for a second session on Monday. Gold for April delivery shed $15, or 1.3%, to settle at $1,184.80 an ounce on Comex.

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