US equity benchmarks were rallying on Monday led by gains in the technology and financial sectors as traders digested comments from social networking giant Facebook's ( FB ) chief executive and upcoming inflation data.
Some 10 of the 11 key Standard & Poor's 500 Index sectors were higher at the time of writing, led by the technology, financials and health care sectors, 2.32%, 1.9% and 1.7% higher, respectively, while the telecommunication sector was 0.1% lower.
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said Monday in a blog post on the social media site that the company will create an independent commission to study the effects of social media on elections. The comments come ahead of a planned appearance before Congress for the head of the social networking website which has seen share price declines in recent weeks after the way its data was managed came under the spotlight. Shares in Facebook were up by 1.9% at the time of writing.
Traders were also looking ahead to the release of consumer price index data due out on Wednesday.
In equity news, Leucadia National Corporation ( LUK ) was leading the gainers on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, 11.9% higher after saying that it would sell most of its non-financial assets, change its name to Jefferies Financial Group and institute a new share buyback program.
Nektar Therapeutics ( NKTR ) was 5.6% higher, Merck & Co ( MRK ) was up by 4.8% after saying its Phase 3 trial of Keytruda, a first-line non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) therapy, met its primary endpoint for overall survival. Applied Materials ( AMAT ) was 4.2% higher and Lam Research (LRCX) was up by 3.8%.
Decliners on the index were led by Newmont Mining Corp (NEM), 2.1% lower, followed by sports apparel brand Under Armour (UA) and clothing chain Gap (GPS), 1.9% and 1.5% lower, respectively. Ventas (VTR), a real estate investment trust, and home improvement store operator Lowe's Companies (LOW) were both 1.2% lower.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was 1.33% higher, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index was up by 1.42% and the Nasdaq was 1.84% higher at the time of writing.