Strong earnings from home-improvement chain Lowe's, together with a rise in the housing market index, pushed stocks sharply higher Monday. Lowe's beat estimates, attributing results to improving consumer sentiment and indications that the housing sector is moving in the right direction. The housing market index rose for a second month, further raising talk that the worst of the housing slump may now be over. Other news included positive analyst comments on Bank of America, helping to drive banking stocks higher. The S&P 500 rose 3.0 percent to 909.71.
Money moved out of the safety of the dollar which fell 3/4 of a cent against the euro to end at $1.3560. The weaker dollar together with improved economic data raised the chances for inflation, making for big gains in commodities including oil which jumped $2-1/2 to $59. Demand for Treasuries eased in steepening trade with the 10-year yield up 10 basis points at 3.23 percent.