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MARKET SNAPSHOT: S&P 500 Ends At Record; Dow Books Biggest Gain In Six Months

Insurance companies among day’s biggest gainers

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U.S. stock-market indexes booked their biggest one-day gains in months, while the benchmark SP 500 ended the session at an all-time high on Monday, in a broad rally led by financials and technology shares.

Wall Street optimism was underpinned by Hurricane Irma delivering a less forceful hit on Florida than expected and North Korea failing to conduct another nuclear missile test over the weekend, reviving investor appetite for assets perceived as risky, such as equities.

The SP 500 advanced 26.68 points, or 1.1%, to 2,488.11, with all 11 main sectors finishing higher. This was the biggest percentage gain since April 24.

Financials were by far the biggest gainer, up 1.7%. Insurance companies led that sector’s gains, boosted by the lighter-than-expected damage from Irma. Travelers Companies Inc.(TRV) climbed 2.3% and was one of the biggest boosts to the Dow, while Progressive Corp. (PGR) was up 2.2%. American International Group Inc. (AIG) rose 1.7%.

The PowerShares KBW Property Casualty Insurance Portfolio(KBWP) rallied 3.1%.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 259.58 points, or 1.2%, to 22,057.37, its biggest one-day percentage rise since March 1. Of the 30 components on the Dow, 28 ended with gains.

The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 72.07 points, or 1.1%, to 6,432.26.

“It’s basically a relief rally as there has been less damage from Hurricane Irma than expected and no rocket launches from North Korea. It is hard to understand why the simple lack of bad news is sending prices higher, but we must respect that fact — the momentum is still strong,” said Wouter Sturkenboom, senior investment strategist at Russell Investments.

Hurricane Irma was downgraded to a Category 1 storm early Monday after tearing a destructive path across South Florida on Sunday, leaving about 6 million

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