Stocks mount a strong rally ahead of the Fed’s rate meeting

March 16, 2015, 6:54 PM UTC

The stock market started the week with strong rally Monday, rebounding from last week’s losses. U.S. stock indexes showed strong gains in afternoon trading, while the U.S. dollar declined and oil prices dipped to their lowest point in six years.

The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 228 points, or 1.3%, Monday afternoon. The blue-chip index has climbed back to within range of the 18,000-point mark after it lost more than 330 points in one day last week on investor concerns over the pending federal interest rate hike. Those losses saw the Dow and the S&P 500 briefly turn negative for the year as investors worried that the Federal Reserve could raise rates as early as June.

The S&P 500 also gained more than 1.3% Monday to recover its own losses from last week. The Nasdaq composite, which dropped more than 80 points last Tuesday, finished Monday up 1.2%, though the tech-heavy index remained several points off its opening point from a week ago.

The U.S. dollar index was down 0.5% on Monday and the dollar ceded ground to the euro, which had recently fallen to its lowest point in about 12 years. The euro’s surge helped European markets on Monday, with Germany’s DAX gaining 2.2% and London’s FTSE 100 rising 0.6%.

Meanwhile, domestic investors reacted favorably to the U.S. dollar’s decline, with the hope being that the drop could stall the Fed’s planned interest rate hike. Wall Street currently awaits the end of a Fed meeting and a policy statement coming Wednesday that could see the central bank remove the word “patient” from its description of the approach it plans to take with the upcoming rate hike.

Oil prices also plunged during Monday trading as the price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude dipped nearly 4% at one point to hit $43 — its lowest point in six years. Oil prices have dropped more than 50% since mid-2014 due to a global supply glut, but prices had climbed back above $50 per barrel in February before sinking again over the past week. The price of Brent crude oil also fell on Monday, dipping more than 2% to nearly $53 per barrel.

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