MARKET SNAPSHOT: U.S. Stocks Gain 1% For The First Time In 3 Months As Geopolitical Fears Ebb

By Sue Chang, MarketWatch , Ryan Vlastelica Features Dow Jones Newswires

Tesla shares rise on Baird upgrade

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U.S. stocks gained on Monday with the S&P 500 rising 1% for the first time in three months as the verbal standoff between the U.S. and North Korea cooled for now.

The S&P 500 added 24.52 points, or 1%, to close at 2,465.84. The best performers were technology shares (XLK) and real-estate stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 135.39 points, or 0.6%, to close at 21,993.71, powered by Visa Inc.(V) which rose 1.8%.

The Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 83.68 points, or 1.3%, to finish at 6,340.23.

Monday's gains restored the S&P and Nasdaq above their 50-day moving averages, in the latest example of investors using any decline as an opportunity to buy on the dip (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/a-problem-for-buy-the-dip-investors-no-dips-to-buy-2017-08-08).

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"After some short-term knee-jerk reactions last week, the market is having that moment of clarity rally--earnings are marching forward, the economy is strengthening, [and] global economic conditions are gaining steam," said Karyn Cavanaugh, senior market strategist at Voya Financial.

Last week's decline was driven in large part by fears over North Korea, where tensions with the U.S. have been escalating. That issue overshadowed the equity market, where earnings have been viewed as strong at a time of high employment and low inflation, as well as valuations that appear elevated by many metrics.

The S&P 500 lost 1.4% last week, while the Nasdaq Composite Index gave up 1.5%.

"Of course there's still caution with the geopolitical situation, so while today may be fairly stable, we're just one headline or tweet away from more volatility. At the same time, the earnings season was tremendously strong, and re-evaluating that and buying on last week's weakness," said Peter Andersen, chief investment officer at Fiduciary Trust Co.

Read more:Bruising stock-market selloff may have cracked the rally's foundation (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bruising-stock-market-selloff-may-have-cracked-the-rallys-foundations-2017-08-11)

Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson over the weekend sought to play down the risk of a military conflict, writing in The Wall Street Journal that the Trump administration is seeking diplomatic solutions (http://nation.foxnews.com/2017/08/13/mattis-and-tillerson-were-holding-pyongyang-account) to achieve the "irreversible denuclearization" of North Korea.

President Donald Trump on Monday spoke out against white supremacists (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-calls-racism-evil-and-says-white-supremacists-are-repugnant-2017-08-14), including the Ku Klux Klan, after his initial response to the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., was widely criticized as being insufficient. One person was killed and nearly 20 were injured at the rally on Saturday.

Analysts said that while market participants were likely following the events, they would have little direct impact on equities.

"What happened in Charlottesville isn't directly relevant to markets, but it is relevant to how deeply divisive the country is in terms of politics, which is something that could become more relevant to markets," Andersen said.

See:This 'warning siren is blaring,' but that's not stopping the Wall Street hype machine (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-warning-siren-is-blaring-but-thats-not-stopping-the-wall-street-hype-machine-2017-08-14)

Individual movers: Shares in Tesla Inc.(TSLA) rose 1.7% after Baird analyst Ben Kallo--a longtime Tesla bull (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-why-tesla-is-bairds-top-stock-market-pick-for-2017-2016-12-30)--hiked his price target for the electric-car maker's stock to $411 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tesla-price-target-lifted-to-411-at-baird-who-says-dont-short-ahead-of-model-3-2017-08-14) from $368.

Apple Inc.(AAPL) and Aetna Inc.(AET) both rose following a report that the two companies are discussing offering Apple's fitness-tracking smartwatch to the insurer's 23 million members (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/aetna-in-talks-with-apple-to-offer-apple-watch-to-its-23-million-members-report-2017-08-14) at a discounted rate.

Chip makers were among the biggest gainers of the day, leading the overall technology sector higher. Micron Technology (MU) added 4.4% while Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) was up 4.3%. The PHLX Semiconductor Index gained 2.6%.

Netflix Inc.'s stock (NFLX) fell 0.2% after a Barron's cover story over the weekend warned the stock could drop more than 50% as "Disney goes its own way and Amazon looms (http://www.barrons.com/articles/the-trouble-with-netflix-1502510711?mod=mktw)," referring to a Netflix-Disney distribution deal that's ending and the threat from Amazon.com Inc.'s (AMZN) streaming business.

Don't miss:Netflix will survive the Disney cord-cut, and here's the proof: Piper Jaffray (Netflix will survive the Disney cord-cut, and here's the proof:Piper%20Jaffray)

And in other Netflix news, the streaming giant has recruited prolific TV producer Shonda Rhimes (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/netfix-poaches-producer-shonda-rhimes-from-abc-in-a-volley-lobbed-at-hollywood-2017-08-14), the creator of hits such as "Grey's Anatomy" for Walt Disney Co.'s (DIS) ABC, in a sign of an arms race for talent.

Merck & Co. (MRK) rose 0.5%. Kenneth Frazier, the company's chief executive, said he was resigning from the president's American Manufacturing Council (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/merck-ceo-to-resign-from-presidents-american-manufacturing-council-two-days-after-charlottesville-violence-2017-08-14) following Saturday's deadly violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

Fed news: New York Fed President William Dudley on Monday told the Associated Press that he is in favor of another rate increase this year (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/feds-dudley-wants-to-keep-raising-interest-rates-slowly-2017-08-14) if the economy remains on its growth path, noting that financial conditions have eased even as the central bank tightens monetary policy.

There were no top-tier U.S. economic reports on Monday but Tuesday should bring U.S. retail sales data for July. Minutes from the Fed's last policy meeting are on tap for Wednesday.

And read:MarketWatch's Economic Calendar (http://www.marketwatch.com/economy-politics/calendars/economic)

Other markets: European equities gained and Asian markets close mostly higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-markets-mostly-higher-as-north-korea-rhetoric-settles-down-2017-08-13). Oil futures settled sharply lower (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-head-for-3-week-low-as-supply-worries-persist-2017-08-14) while a key dollar index surrendered earlier gains to trade flat.

--Victor Reklaitis contributed to this article.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 14, 2017 16:33 ET (20:33 GMT)