US stocks soar on banks, technology shares

Banking and technology shares led a sharp rebound on Wall Street Tuesday.

New York: Banking and technology shares led a sharp rebound on Wall Street Tuesday, helped by another rise in oil prices and strong auto sales.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 348.58 points (2.11 percent) at 16,865.08.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 46.12 points (2.39 percent) at 1,978.35, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index soared 131.65 (2.89 percent) to 4,689.60.
There was no one catalyst for the surge in buying, which took the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq to their highest closes since January 6.

Oil prices rose again after Russia again raised the prospect of an output freeze by major producers; WTI crude climbed 65 cents to $34.40 a barrel and Brent gained 24 cents at $36.81 a barrel.
A barometer of the manufacturing sector, the ISM purchasing managers index for February, came in above expectations but showed the sector still marginally contracting.

US auto sales were much stronger than expected last month, showing US consumers still ready and able to spend on big-ticket items, with Ford, Honda and Fiat Chrysler the biggest winners last month.

Banks led the way higher. Bank of America gained 5.2 percent, Citigroup 6.3 percent, JPMorgan Chase 5.1 percent and SunTrust Banks 5.5 percent.

In tech shares, Apple gained just under 4.0 percent, Amazon 4.8 percent, Netflix 5.2 percent and Google parent Alphabet 3.5 percent.

Ford shares jumped 4.3 percent and Fiat Chrysler 7.1 percent after double-digit gains in February sales, handily beating expectations.

General Motors sales fell 1.5 percent in the month -- it blamed lower deliveries for rentals -- but its shares still rose 1.9 percent.

Wal-Mart and Costco, big-box chains struggling with downward price pressures and a toughly competitive retail sector, were laggards. Wal-Mart added only 0.2 percent in the day and Costco 0.3 percent.

United Technologies shares lost 1.9 percent after Honeywell dropped its $90 billion offer for the company, which United Technologies said was too low and faced large antitrust hurdles. Honeywell shares gained 4.2 percent.