March starts strong as U.S. stocks rally

March 02 02:44 2016

March came in like a bull for Wall Street Tuesday with U.S. stocks up sharply as better-than-expected news on manufacturing added fuel to a an early rally on China’s latest stimulus move. The Dow Jones industrial average was up about 275 points, or 1.7% and the Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 1.8% at 12:40 p.m. ET. The Nasdaq composite index rose 2.2%.AP FINANCIAL MARKETS WALL STREET F USA NY

U.S. crude rallied and was up 2.2% to $34.50 a barrel. Global stocks got a boost after China freed more money for lending by lowering the amount commercial lenders must hold in reserve in a move to shore up slowing economic growth. That helped Wall Street rally at the opening bell, and U.S. stocks extended their gains following news U.S. manufacturing activity shrank less than expected during February. The Dow was up about 125 points at 10 a.m. ET when the ISM news was released.

In Asia,  China’s Shanghai composite index jumped 1.7% to finish at 2,733.17. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.4% to close at 16,085.51 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 1.6% to 19,407.46. Germany’s DAX index rose 1.4%, France’s CAC 40 was 0.6% higher and Britain’s FTSE 100 gained 0.5%. U.S. stocks ended February on a sour note Monday as oil prices rose and a meeting of G20 finance officials ended without pledges for joint action to stimulate sagging global economic growth.