Insurers drive stocks higher

NEW YORK – So much for Irene.
Stocks rose broadly Monday, led by insurance companies, after it became clear that the tropical storm caused far less damage than many had feared.
Insurance stocks rose sharply as analysts lowered their estimates of how much damage the storm would cause. Allstate Corp. rose 8.5 percent, Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. rose 13 percent, and Travelers Cos. Inc. rose 5.1 percent. Insurance and banking stocks in the Standard amp& Poor’s 500 rose 4.2 percent, the most of the 10 company groups that make up the index.
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 254.71 points, or 2.3 percent, to close at 11,539.25. It is now down just 0.3 percent for the year. The Standard amp& Poor’s 500 index rose 33.28 points, or 2.8 percent, to 1,210.08. The technology-focused Nasdaq composite index rose 82.26, or 3.3 percent, to 2,562.11.
The Russell 2000 index, a benchmark for small companies, rose 32.86 points, or 4.7 percent, to 724.65.
Gold futures closed at $1,791.60 an ounce, shaving $5.70. Silver dropped 41 cents to close at $40.55 an ounce.
Oil added $1.90 to settle at $87.27 a barrel.

The Associated Press