By Saumya Vaishampayan
U.S. stocks rose sharply on Monday, propelling the S&P 500 to its longest winning streak this year as investors bet low interest rates would stick around for longer.
Last week's disappointing U.S. jobs report fueled worries that weakness abroad could be spilling over into the U.S., cooling expectations for an imminent increase in interest rates. Federal Reserve officials consider data on the labor market and inflation as they debate when to raise short-term interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade. Ultralow interest rates have helped buoy shares in the U.S. for the past six years.
"As long as we're in a low interest-rate environment, you have to buy stocks because you're not going to get returns in cash or bonds," said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management, which oversees about $100 million. "You've got this back-and-forth between still very high valuations and 'What else can I do with my money outside of buying stocks?' " he added.
The S&P 500 gained 35.69 points, or 1.8%, to 1987.05. The index has rallied 5.6% over the past five sessions, marking its longest stretch of gains since December.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 304.06 points, or 1.8%, to 16776.43, and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 73.49 points, or 1.6%, to 4781.26.
Major indexes remain well off their records after renewed global growth fears pushed them into correction territory in August. The S&P 500 is 6.7% below its all-time closing high, while the Dow is 8.4% away from its closing record.
"It's a follow-through from Friday's reversal rally," said Bill Nichols, head of U.S. equities at Cantor Fitzgerald, of Monday's gains. He said the September jobs number will likely be revised higher in the months ahead, as it has in the past.
"You have to be cautious either way," he said. "The economy is probably OK, but you can make the case that there are growth concerns."
Friday's report showed the U.S. economy added fewer jobs than expected in September. Stocks tumbled in the wake of the report early Friday, only to reverse course and end the day higher.
Portfolio manager Sandy Villere III bought shares of Men's Wearhouse Inc. and Taser International Inc., among other small-cap companies, on Friday.
"We're looking for good companies...that have just been oversold due to market-driven forces," said Mr. Villere of Villere & Co., which manages $2.8 billion. "You get a bad jobs number and that sort of thing, and that's a great opportunity for people like me to take advantage of high-quality [companies] on a pullback," he added.
Gains in commodity prices added to Monday's move higher, traders said. Crude-oil prices rose 1.6% to $46.26 in New York. Copper prices also rose and gold prices added 0.1% to $1138.10 an ounce.
"Some of the worst-performing sectors have become the best-performing sectors," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities, pointing to energy and materials stocks. "Those were really dragging markets down" earlier, he added.
Energy stocks have advanced 9.7% over the past week, notching the biggest gain among S&P 500 sectors. Shares of materials companies, which are sensitive to commodity prices, posted the second-biggest rally over the past week. Those two sectors are the worst S&P performers over the past three months.
Stocks posted bigger gains in Europe. The Stoxx Europe 600 rose 3%. Germany's DAX added 2.7% and France's CAC index rose 3.5%.
"The weekend has given traders the time to digest the weaker-than-expected jobs report on Friday and it seems we are back with 'bad news is good news' for the equity markets," said Jonathan Sudaria, night dealer at London Capital Group.
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren said Saturday that his confidence that the central bank can raise rates soon had fallen after Friday's jobs report.
The yield on 10-year U.S. Treasurys rose to 2.058% from 1.989% on Friday. Yields gain as prices fall.
In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng and Japan's Nikkei 225 both rose 1.6%. Stock markets in mainland China were closed for a holiday.
Some investors said they expected more stimulus from Beijing following weak economic data in the region. The World Bank downgraded its economic growth forecasts for the East Asia and Pacific region, and China's expected growth rate was cut to 6.9% from 7.1%.
In corporate news, Twitter Inc. on Monday said co-founder Jack Dorsey would take over as chief executive after filling the role on an interim basis since July. Mr. Dorsey will remain chief executive of Square Inc., the payments startup he co-founded after leaving Twitter in 2008. Shares were up 7%.
General Electric Co. shares were up 5.3% after activist investor Nelson Peltz disclosed a stake of roughly 1%, raising pressure on the industrial conglomerate to revive its stock price.
AT&T Inc. said it reached a multiyear agreement with Viacom Inc. for the media giant to continue providing programming to certain AT&T subscribers. AT&T shares rose 2.4% and shares of Viacom gained 2.55%.
Dan Strumpf and Christopher Whittall contributed to this article.
Write to Saumya Vaishampayan at email@example.com