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story.lead_photo.caption A currency trader walks near the screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI), left, and the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and South Korean won at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul, South Korea, Monday, May 18, 2020. Asian stock markets rose Monday after the chief U.S. central banker expressed optimism the the American economy might start to recover this year from the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

The stock market bounced back from its worst week in nearly two months Monday as optimism about a potential vaccine for the coronavirus and hopes for a U.S. economic recovery in the second half of the year put investors in a buying mood.

The S&P 500 climbed 3.2 percent, its best day since early April. The gains erased all of its losses from last week, when the index posted its worst showing since late March and its third weekly loss in the last four. Bond yields rose broadly in another sign that investors were becoming more optimistic.

Stocks were already headed for a higher opening on Wall Street when a drug company announced encouraging results in very early testing of an experimental coronavirus vaccine. The stock of the company, Massachusetts-based Moderna, jumped 20 percent.

Investors were also encouraged by remarks over the weekend from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who expressed optimism that the U.S. economy could begin to recover in the second half of the year. Once the outbreak has been contained, he said, the economy should be able to rebound "substantially."

The S&P 500 gained 90.21 points to 2,953.91. The benchmark index is still down 12.8 percent from its all-time high Feb. 19.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 911.95 points, or 3.9 percent, to 24,597.37. The Nasdaq composite rose 220.27 points, or 2.4 percent, to 9,234.83. Small-company stocks fared better than the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 index picked up 76.70 points, or 6.1 percent, to 1,333.69.

Investors are hoping a working vaccine for COVID-19 can be developed, and it will help reassure people and businesses as the economy reopens.

Traders are also encouraged that, so far at least, there hasn't been a lot of data implying the reopening of the economy is going to lead to a resurgence in the number of COVID-19 cases, said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA.

Technology, financial and industrial stocks accounted for a big slice of the broad gains, along with companies that rely on consumer spending. Energy stocks also rose as the price of U.S. crude oil closed above $30 a barrel for the first time in two months. Oil production cuts are kicking in at the same time that demand is rising as the U.S. and other countries ease some of the restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of the outbreak.

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