Updated March 2 at 7:02pm

Stocks advance amid optimism over easing of Ukraine crisis

U.S. stocks rose, after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index had its best day in five months, amid optimism that tension between Russia and Ukraine will ease and American airstrikes will push back militants in Iraq. More

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Stocks advance amid optimism over easing of Ukraine crisis

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NEW YORK – U.S. stocks rose, after the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index had its best day in five months, amid optimism that tension between Russia and Ukraine will ease and American airstrikes will push back militants in Iraq.

The S&P 500 gained 0.2 percent to 1,935.26 at 9:30 a.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 33.71 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,587.64 on Monday.

“The buying that we saw last week should follow through this week,” Patrick Spencer, managing director and head of U.S. equity sales at Robert W. Baird & Co., said in an interview. “The world will likely welcome a more decisive U.S. on issues like Iraq. Ukraine for the moment is less contentious.”

The S&P 500 advanced 1.2 percent on Aug. 8 to erase declines in the previous four sessions, after reports indicated Russia intended to de-escalate the conflict in Ukraine and had ended military exercises held since Aug. 4 near its border with the country.

In the Middle East, U.S. jets and drone aircraft hit Islamic State fighters in multiple attacks in Iraq, while Israeli and Palestinian negotiators staked out positions for a long-term agreement on the Gaza Strip amid a new Egyptian- brokered truce.

The S&P 500 had fallen 3.9 percent from its record of 1,987.98 on July 24 on concern that conflicts from Iraq to Israel and Ukraine could slow global economic growth.

The equities benchmark has gone without a 10 percent correction since 2011. It trades at 17.5 times the reported earnings of its companies, after reaching a four-year high of 18.3 in June.

U.S. stocks, Ukraine,

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