U.S. stocks held decent gains Monday, as geopolitical tensions in Ukraine eased and economic data came out better than expected.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 175.83 points, or 1.06 percent, to 16,838.74. The S&P 500 climbed 16.68 points, or 0.85 percent, to 1,971.73. The Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 43.39 points, or 0.97 percent, to 4,508.31.
The market continued to stage a relief rally after major indices closed in green territory last week when geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and Gaza had shown signs of ebbing.
Wall Street had suffered a correction amid geopolitical tensions after the benchmark S&P 500 hit a record high in late July.
The foreign ministers of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine met in Berlin during the weekend to discuss the Ukraine crisis. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said early Monday that some progress was made in the "difficult" quadrilateral talks.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday after the meeting that all the issues regarding the delivery of humanitarian aid to Ukraine had been solved, but no progress had been made toward a ceasefire.
On the economic front, U.S. home builder confidence in August rose for a third straight month to the highest level since January. The National Association of Home Builder/Wells Fargo said Monday that the Housing Market Index for August rose two points to 55 in the market for newly built, single family homes, beating market consensus.
Corporate merger and acquisition news also boosted market sentiment. Discount retailer Dollar General announced Monday it has made a proposal to acquire Family Dollar Stores, Inc. for 78. 50 U.S. dollars per share in cash, higher than Dollar Tree's offer in a bid to buy Family Dollar.
Dollar General's shares soared 11.63 percent to 64.14 dollars apiece while Family Dollar's shares rose 4.93 percent to 79.81 dollars apiece.
Major data scheduled for release this week include the July consumer price index. An uptick in the inflationary gauge could spark fears among investors for an earlier-than-expected rate hike from the Federal Reserve.
U.S. wholesale prices rose 0.1 percent in July as expected, indicating that inflationary pressure remained benign.
Investors are also looking to the minutes of the Fed's latest policy meeting due out Wednesday afternoon, as well as Fed Chair Janet Yellen's speech on the labor market at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, later this week.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered as Wall Street's fear gauge, tumbled 6.31 percent to end at 12.32 on Monday.
In other markets, crude prices retreated Monday as market concerns over the disruption of crude output by Iraq unrest diminished. Light, sweet crude for September delivery moved down 94 cents to settle at 96.41 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for October delivery lost 1. 93 dollars to close at 101.6 dollars a barrel
Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange dropped Monday as investor appetite for the safe-haven asset weakened amid eased Ukraine tension. The most active gold contract for December delivery fell 6.9 dollars, or 0.53 percent, to settle at 1,299.3 dollars per ounce.
The U.S. dollar strengthened moderately against most major currencies Monday on encouraging U.S. housing data. In late New York trading, the euro fell to 1.3360 dollars from 1.3397 dollars of the previous session, and the greenback bought 102.58 Japanese yen, higher than 102.35 yen of the previous session.