Insurance companies among day's biggest gainers
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U.S. stocks rose Monday, with major indexes on track for their strongest session since August as Hurricane Irma hit Florida with less force than expected and North Korea failed to conduct another nuclear missile test over the weekend, reviving investor appetite for riskier assets such as equities.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 233 points, or 1.1%, to 22,031, its biggest one-day percentage rise since August 22. The blue-chip average returned above the closely watched 22,000 level for the first time since Sept. 1.
The S&P 500 was trading in record territory, after adding 23 points to 2,484, a gain of 1%. The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 66 points, or 1%, to 6,426.
Hurricane Irma was downgraded to a Category 1 storm early Monday after tearing a destructive path across South Florida on Sunday. The hurricane was expected to hit Tallahassee later in the afternoon. Irma has left about 6 million residents without power.
"The big news this morning has been that Hurricane Irma, while devastating, has not been as catastrophic as had been feared," said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.
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The day's gains were broad, with all of the 11 main S&P 500 sectors higher on the day. Financials were by far the biggest gainer, up 1.7%. Insurance companies led that sector's gains, boosted by the lighter-than-expected damage from Irma. Travelers Companies Inc.(TRV) climbed 5.1% and was one of the biggest boosts to the Dow, while Progressive Corp (PGR) was up 4.2%. American International Group Inc.(AIG) rose 1.2%.
The PowerShares KBW Property & Casualty Insurance Portfolio(KBWP) spiked 5.2% in its biggest one-day gain since August 2011, but has recently pulled back somewhat.
Read:Though weakened, Hurricane Irma continues to pound Florida (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/worst-case-scenario-as-hurricane-irma-makes-landfall-in-florida-2017-09-10)
Investors may have gotten another break from easing geopolitical tensions. North Korea failed to conduct a missile test over the weekend, which some predicted the country might do to mark the anniversary of its founding.
Cieszynski said the lack of "a missile test or any other provocations" fell into the "no news is good news file."
Stocks to watch: Shares of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.(TEVA) were up 23% after the Israeli drug company on Monday named Lundbeck's Kare Schultz as its new chief executive. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/teva-names-lundbecks-kare-schultz-as-new-ceo-2017-09-11)
Apple Inc. (AAPL) jumped 1.8% and neared record levels. The tech giant will unveil its latest iPhone on Tuesday (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-apple-iphones-key-feature-is-its-price-tag-2017-09-09).
Tesla Inc.(TSLA) rose 4.6%. The electric-car maker sent out a free software update (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/tesla-boosts-range-for-some-vehicles-in-florida-to-escape-irma-2017-09-10) temporarily extending the battery life for some of its cars to help owners evacuate the looming Irma storm.
Shares of Equifax Inc.(EFX) continued to drop in the wake of news that the company suffered a cyber attack in which hackers stole sensitive information, such as social security numbers, of 143 million Americans. The stock is down 5%, adding to a 14% plunge on Friday.
Need to know:Here's the next catalyst for Tesla that has bulls fired up (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-the-next-catalyst-for-tesla-that-has-bulls-fired-up-2017-09-11)
Other markets: Asian markets had a largely stronger day (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/asian-markets-rev-up-after-lull-in-north-korea-tensions-2017-09-10), keying off reduced fears over North Korea. The Nikkei 225 index bounced back from its worst week in seven months to gain 1.4% as the Japanese yen, a traditional haven in times of geopolitical and economic stress, weakened.
European stocks continued to press higher (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/european-stocks-bounce-up-as-appetite-for-risk-returns-2017-09-11), led by gains for insurers as Hurricane Irma lessened in severity.
The ICE Dollar Index rose 0.6% to 91.860, led by gains for the greenback against the yen , which rose to Yen109.07 from Yen107.84 late Friday. Gold , another haven asset, fell $10.40, or 0.8%, to $1,340.70 an ounce.
Oil prices were mixed, with WTI crude up 0.6%, to $47.75 a barrel. Brent crude was off 0.4% to $53.59 a barrel.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 11, 2017 12:14 ET (16:14 GMT)