Stocks shook off morning losses on Monday and surged in the afternoon to send the Standard & Poor’s 500 index to its best day in a week. It’s the latest turn for a market suddenly prone to quick shifts hour to hour, as investors question whether President Donald Trump will really risk a trade war.
The S&P 500 lost as much as 0.6 percent shortly after trading began, only to finish the day 1.1 percent higher after rising 29.69 points to 2,720.94. It’s reminiscent of what happened Friday, when stocks reversed course on speculation that Mr. Trump was only making an opening bid when he promised to impose stiff tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, rather than a final offer.
The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 336.70, or 1.4 percent, to 24,874.76, and the Nasdaq composite gained 72.84, or 1 percent, to 7,330.70. Both came back from early-morning losses.
Mr. Trump took to Twitter again on Monday to defend the tariffs, which have riled trading partners worldwide and sparked talk of retaliation to heighten the worries about a trade war. He highlighted trade deficits with Canada and Mexico, and said tariffs “will only come off if” a new free-trade agreement with the two countries is signed.
Boeing offered a good example of how quickly the market shifted. The aerospace giant got the majority of its revenue from outside the United States last year, so it would be hurt if countries put up more barriers to global trade. Boeing was down as much as 2.3 percent in the morning before ending the day up 2.3 percent.
From its low point of the day to its high, the S&P 500 index carried investors through a swing of 1.9 percentage points. It’s the fifth straight day with a gap of more than 1.5 percentage points, as trading has become much more wild since the market’s placid, record-setting run from 2017 into January.
The biggest gain in the S&P 500 came from XL Group, which surged after AXA said that it will acquire the insurance and reinsurance company for $15.3 billion. Investors will get $57.60 per XL Group share, and XL Group stock surged $12.62, or 29.1 percent, to $55.92.
In overseas stock markets, Europe was mostly higher, with Italy an exception after elections there saw no single party emerge with a majority in Parliament. France’s CAC 40 rose 0.6 percent, Germany’s DAX gained 1.5 percent and the FTSE 100 was up 0.7 percent in London.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.7 percent, South Korea’s Kospi dropped 1.1 percent and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 2.3 percent.
Besides tariffs, investors are also keying in on the upcoming U.S. jobs report that’s looming at the end of the week.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.88 percent on Monday from 2.87 percent late Friday.
In the commodities markets, benchmark U.S. crude rose $1.32 to settle at $62.57 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose $1.17, or 1.8 percent, to $65.54 a barrel.
Gold fell $3.50 to settle at $1,319.90 per ounce, silver lost 5 cents to $16.41 per ounce and copper was close to flat at $3.13 per pound.
Natural gas added a penny to $2.70 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating oil rose 2 cents to $1.90 per gallon and wholesale gasoline climbed 3 cents to $1.93 per gallon.
The dollar rose to 106.20 Japanese yen from 105.54 yen late Friday. The euro dipped to $1.2327 from $1.2331, and the British pound climbed to $1.3833 from $1.3790.