U.S. stocks advanced toward a record Monday, as a weakening Hurricane Irma sparked a rally in so-called riskier assets.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index surged 1.1% to 2,488.11, its first record close in over a month. All 11 sectors tracked by the large-cap index finished in positive territory, including four that rose 1% or more.
Financials stocks led the rally, as banks surged and insurance companies extended Friday’s recovery. The sector finished 1.7% higher.
Shares of information technology rose 1.5% on average, and materials climbed 1.4%.
Energy stocks advanced 1% as U.S. crude futures mounted a comeback. Consumer stocks posted solid gains and healthcare also finished higher.
The CBOE VIX – Wall Street’s barometer of investor fear – plunged more than 11% on Monday. The volatility gauge rose to multi-week highs last week in the shadow of Hurricane Irma.
Irma smashed into Florida over the weekend, causing torrential downpours and signifcant flooding that left millions without power. However, the storm’s impact is expected to be much less severe than initially feared, with preliminary estimates showing likely damages of less than $50 billion. Last week, it was estimated that Irma’s total cost could reach $200 billion.
There were no economic reports scheduled for Monday. The U.S. government will report on the latest consumer inflation and retail sales data toward the end of the week. The figures could provide clues about the direction Federal Reserve officials take next week when they meet to discuss monetary policy.
S&P 500 Index