Wall Street jumped in morning trading, with major averages gaining more than 1%, as U.S. investors also responded positively to strong figures on consumer confidence and housing prices. Oil prices rose, while gold fell modestly.
Heightened expectations the U.S. central bank could soon taper its stimulus program last week had caused turbulence across markets, leaving it to central banks in Japan and Europe to reassure investors their accommodative monetary policies would remain in place.
On Monday, when U.S. markets were closed for the Memorial Day holiday, ECB Executive Board member Joerg Asmussen said the policy would stay as long as necessary. On Tuesday, BOJ board member Ryuzo Miyao said it was vital to keep long- and short-term interest rates stable.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 170.22 points, or 1.11%, at 15,473.32. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 20.02 points, or 1.21%, at 1,669.62. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 46.86 points, or 1.35%, at 3,506.00.
The rush to stocks weighed on safe-haven U.S. debt, sending prices down and yields up ahead of a $35 billion Treasury auction of two-year notes, the start of $99 billion in new coupon-bearing supply this week.
Treasuries yields have jumped since Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday that the U.S. central bank may decide to pull back on its bond purchases in the coming few Fed policy meetings if data show the economy is gaining steam.