A jump in crude oil and a rise in European markets set off a rally in U.S. stocks, capping a four-week winning streak for major indexes.
Investors bought across industries from the start of trading Friday. Drillers, refiners and other energy companies rose sharply as the price for U.S. crude oil hit a high for the year. Devon Energy jumped 11 percent and Southwestern Energy gained 10 percent.
Just a month ago, investors were dumping shares amid talk of a possible U.S. recession. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell to almost a two-year low. But confidence has returned as numbers suggest the U.S. economy is strengthening.
The S&P 500 is up nearly 11 percent since Feb. 11.
On Friday, the S&P 500 gained 32.62, or 1.64 percent, to 2,022.19.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 218.18, or 1.28 percent, to 17,213.31.
The Nasdaq composite climbed 86.31, or 1.85 percent, to 4,748.47.
U.S. crude gained after the International Energy Agency said signs that the market has “bottomed out” have emerged. Energy companies have been shutting down rigs and laying off thousands of workers as oil prices plunged to around $30 per barrel from well over $100 per barrel just two years ago.
U.S. crude has risen 47 percent from a 13-year low of $26.21 a month ago.
Bank stocks also rose sharply. That sector had been beaten down in recent weeks as investors worried about loans to highly leveraged energy companies going bad.