Stocks closed broadly higher on Wall Street as investors regained an appetite for risk following two straight weeks of losses. The S&P 500 rose 1% Monday, with technology stocks leading the gains. Microsoft and Google’s parent company both rose more than 2%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 1.4%. Safe-play sectors like utilities lagged the rest of the market. Virgin Galactic jumped almost 28% after the company made its first rocket-powered flight from New Mexico to the fringe of space in a manned shuttle over the weekend, the AP reports. The S&P 500 rose 41.19 points to 4,197.05. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 186.14 points, or 0.5%, to 34,393.98. The Nasdaq rose 190.18 points to 13,661.17.
Semiconductor companies were among the big gainers. Nvidia and Micron Technology both rose more than 3%. Communications stocks, like Facebook, and a variety of companies that rely on direct consumer spending also made solid gains. Sectors that are viewed as safer investments, like utilities, lagged the broader market. Earnings season at this point is near its end and companies have been reporting strong results for the first quarter. That has helped reaffirm Wall Street's view that the economic recovery is solid. It has also helped to justify some of the pricey stock values in several sectors, especially technology. Investors will get results from Dell and Salesforce.com this week, among a few others.
(Read more stock market