Investors were shrugging off a weekend vote in which Crimeans opted to leave Ukraine and join Russia and sent stocks sharply higher Monday as the Dow Jones industrial average tries to shake off a five-day losing streak.
The Dow ended up 181.55 points in afternoon trading to 16,247.22.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 1% to 1,858.83 and the Nasdaq composite index added 0.8% to 4,279.95.
The Dow is coming off a lousy week, as it fell all five trading days for the first time since May 2012.
It fell 387 points, or 2.4%, last week amid Ukraine fears and worries about slowing growth in China.
The market's bullish response to the Crimea vote was due to the fact that worst-case outcomes did not come to fruition, says Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at R.W. Baird.
- did not result in violence or military movements by the Russians, nor
- were sanctions announced by the U.S. and Europe, which focused mainly on a handful of Russian officials, punitive enough to spark global growth fears,
"Last week's selling got overdone on the possibility of war. The vote has been peaceful. There was concern that it could escalate and it didn't, and that was a big help. And the sanctions proved to be more mild than could be expected. The market was worried about sanctions causing the global economy to slow."
Still, investors were also bracing for "stage two" of the international crisis as they await Russia's next move. It's also unclear whether the West, which has threatened severe economic sanctions against Moscow, will take more punitive steps at some point.