NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are climbing Monday as investors' fears about a possible trade war between the U.S. and China ease once again. Technology companies like Apple and Microsoft are bouncing back from their recent losses and banks are rising along with interest rates. Stocks have alternated between big gains and steep losses in recent weeks as investors tried to assess how the trade dispute could evolve and what it might mean for the global economy.
KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index gained 39 points, or 1.5 percent, to 2,643 as of 3 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 346 points, or 1.5 percent, to 24,278. The Nasdaq composite jumped 120 points, or 1.8 percent, to 7,035. The Russell 2000 index of smaller company stocks added 15 points, or 1 percent, to 1,528. The Russell index is composed of more U.S.-focused companies that are somewhat less vulnerable to the effects of tariffs, so its moves in response to the recent trade tensions haven't been as dramatic.
The S&P 500 fell 1.4 percent last week, with large losses Monday and Friday and strong gains in between. It's now flat for April.
WHERE ARE WE NOW? While President Donald Trump continued to bash America's trade deals on Twitter, he said the U.S. and China could settle their dispute and administration officials emphasized that they are open to talks, which could allow them to resolve their complaints with measures that don't make much difference to global economic growth and to stock indexes.
Stocks have gyrated because investors aren't sure how bad the trade dispute between the nations might get. Late last week Trump threatened to impose tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese goods, following an earlier announcement that targeted $50 billion. China has pledged to "counterattack with great strength" if Trump decides to follow through on that threat.
THE QUOTE: "We don't have a trade war. We have potential suggestions of things that could happen," said Marina Severinovsky, an investment strategist at Schroders. She said the global economy and the U.S. economy are still growing, and when companies start to report their first-quarter results later this week, the results are likely to be good. Stocks usually do well when investors can get their minds off the trade disputes.
"Every day the market wakes up and it struggles with whether it should pay attention to noise or pay attention to fundamentals," she said.
BONDS: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.79 percent from 2.77 percent late Friday.
X MARKS THE SPOT: Swiss drugmaker Novartis agreed to buy AveXis for $8.7 billion, or $218 a share, as it aims to become a leader in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. The price is almost double AveXis' closing price on Friday. AveXis is studying a treatment for a disorder called spinal muscular atrophy Type 1, which Novartis called the top genetic cause of death in infants, and is also researching treatments for other conditions.
AveXis climbed $94.95, or 81.9 percent, to $210.86 and Novartis added $1.31, or 1.6 percent, to $81.51.
WILL HE GET LIKES? This week will be a big one for Facebook as it tries to get its data privacy scandal under control. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is meeting with legislators and will testify before Congress later this week as the company has embarked on a high profile effort to convince users, advertisers and investors that it is serious about fixing problems that led to the Cambridge Analytica scandal and about user privacy as a whole.
Facebook picked up $2.67, or 1.7 percent, to $159.87. Its stock is down 13.5 percent since March 16.
Facebook's woes have affected other social media companies and big technology companies, including Google's parent company Alphabet. Severinovsky said investors are considering the possibility that the companies will be regulated in ways they never have been, which will create new costs and affect their earnings. But she thinks they will continue to do well.
"These companies are going to continue to be very profitable," she said.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude jumped $1.36, or 2.2 percent, to $63.42 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added $1.54, or 2.3 percent, to $68.65 a barrel London.8 comments on this story
Wholesale gasoline rose 3 cents to $1.98 a gallon. Heating oil rose 4 cents to $2 a gallon. Natural gas lost 1 cent to $2.69 per 1,000 cubic feet.
METALS: Gold rose $4 to $1,340.10 an ounce. Silver gained 17 cents to $16.53 an ounce. Copper picked up 2 cents to $3.08 a pound.
CURRENCIES: The dollar fell to 106.78 yen from 106.85 yen. The euro rose to $1.2322 from $1.2285.
OVERSEAS: Germany's DAX rose 0.2 percent and the CAC 40 in France edged up 0.1 percent. The British FTSE 100 added 0.2 percent.
Asian stocks fared better. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 advanced 0.5 percent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 1.3 percent. Seoul's Kospi added 0.6 percent.