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S&P 500, Nasdaq rise the most since January, Dow shakes off Boeing declines

U.S. stocks rose and the Dow (^DJI) shook off earlier declines after a drop in shares of aerospace giant Boeing (BA) weighed on the index. Stronger-than-expected retail sales figures for January helped buoy confidence among market participants.

The industrials-heavy Dow rose 0.79%, or 200.64 points, as of market close. A deadly crash of a Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft on Sunday led shares of the aerospace giant to drop more than 11% as of market open. These declines generated an about 300-point drag on Dow futures during early trading, with Boeing comprising about 10.9% of the industrials-heavy index.

Shares of Boeing fell as much as 13.5% to $365.55 shortly after market open. However, shares pared losses and closed lower by 5.36% Monday.

Gains in shares of every other Dow component offset Boeing’s declines. Apple’s (AAPL) stock closed higher by 3.46% after Bank of American Merrill Lynch upgraded shares of the company to Buy from Neutral and raised its price target to $210 from $180. BofAML said the stock’s recent pullback created a buying opportunity, and the firm cited potential in the company’s health-care, wearables and services segments.

The other major domestic indices continued to climb during Monday’s session. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) rose 1.47%, or 40.23 points, with the Tech sector leading advances. The Nasdaq (^IXIC) rose 2.02%, or 149.92 points. These represented the largest percent gains for both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq since January 30.

Each of the three major indices posted weekly losses of more 2% on Friday as a beginning-of-the-year U.S. equity rally lost steam after the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest jobs report showed fewer-than-expected job additions in February. However, equities looked to return to an uptrend Monday, with the S&P 500 up nearly 11% for the year-to-date through Monday.

“While last week may have felt pretty brutal, it’s important to remember that we’re still in a high range and it’s been a very strong year so far for the market,” said Chris Larkin, senior vice president of trading at E-Trade Financial Corporation.

Retail sales

Market participants on Monday got a dose of good news with better-than-expected January retail sales results, which marked a turnaround from December’s sharply underwhelming reading. The headline reading on retail sales rose 0.2% in January, following a downwardly revised 1.6% decline in December, the Census Bureau reported Monday. The revised December results were even weaker than the 1.2% drop previously reported, which itself had been the worst reading in 9 years.

A control group for retail sales – viewed by many economists as a better gauge of consumer demand – rose 1.1% in January, above the 0.6% gain expected and the downwardly revised 2.3% drop in December. This group excludes sales from the food services, automobile dealers, building materials and gasoline stations segments.

“The January details show that the rebound was uneven, with big gains in building materials (3.3% m/m), sporting goods (4.8%), and non-store retailers (2.6%) but weakness in furniture (-1.2%), and electronics (-0.3%), while department store sales were little changed after a huge 3.0% drop,” Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics wrote in a note Monday. “Overall, these data signal a clear increase in total consumers’ spending in January, but the adverse base effect from December’s drop - which will be revised down - means that Q1 real consumption will struggle mightily to reach 2% growth, and a mere 1% is entirely possible.”

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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