* S&P 500 comes off biggest weekly decline in seven
* Alibaba will begin U.S. IPO process
* JA Solar soars after results, forecast
* Indexes up: Dow 1.1 pct, S&P 1 pct, Nasdaq 1.2 pct
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, March 17 U.S. stocks rose more than 1
percent on Monday, rebounding from a steep drop in the previous
week as concerns eased over the situation in Crimea, even as the
region voted to join Russia.
The 97-percent vote in Crimea in favor of quitting Ukraine
was condemned as illegal by Kiev and the West, with the White
House calling Russian actions "dangerous and destabilizing,"
though the referendum passed without violence.
In addition, while markets are considered to be vulnerable
to further developments in what is considered the biggest crisis
between Russia and the United States since the Cold War,
anticipated sanctions against Russia have yet to materialize.
The geopolitical tension weighed on equities last week, with
the S&P 500 suffering its biggest weekly loss in seven and the
CBOE Volatility index jumping to its highest since early
February on Friday.
"This is a classic example of too much fear and anxiety
having been in the market. Last week's decline more than
discounted any bad news that could be reasonably expected to
come out," said Donald Selkin, chief market strategist at
National Securities in New York. "I don't think anyone believes
that this could escalate into a shooting war or the U.S.
The advance continued a recent trend of investors using
market pullbacks as buying opportunities. Major indexes have not
undergone a sustained pullback in more than a year.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 182.59
points, or 1.14 percent, at 16,248.26. The Standard & Poor's 500
Index was up 19.15 points, or 1.04 percent, at 1,860.28.
The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 49.35 points, or 1.16
percent, at 4,294.75.
The U.S. Federal Reserve's massive stimulus program has
helped keep a floor under equity prices, and market participants
are looking ahead to a two-day meeting of the Fed's
policy-setting committee, which begins Tuesday.
The Fed is unlikely to deviate from previously announced
policies, but it could use the meeting - the first with Janet
Yellen as chair - to map out its plan for rate rises. The
central bank has said that the first rate rise is likely to come
around the middle of next year, as long as the U.S. economy
In the latest economic data, the New York Fed's "Empire
State" gauge of New York manufacturing rose in March, helped by
increases in new orders and inventories, though the rise was
less than forecast. Separately, industrial output rose 0.6
percent in February, a far bigger rise than had been expected.
"The data gives us another kick up, since it is another sign
that we're recovering from recent weather issues," said Selkin,
who helps oversee about $3 billion in assets.
In company news, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group
Holding Ltd said on Sunday it would begin the process towards a
U.S. initial public offering, ending months of speculation.
Shares of Yahoo Inc, which has a 24 percent stake in
the company, jumped 3.2 percent to $38.81.
JA Solar Holdings Co shares jumped 9.6 percent to
$12.52 after the company posted its first profit in 10 quarters
and forecast higher shipments for the year.
Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Sunday its
experimental liver disease drug was effective in a third
late-stage clinical trial, setting the stage for the company to
file for marketing approval. Shares fell 6.3 percent to $433.14.
Giant Investment Ltd will acquire Chinese online gaming
company Giant Interactive Group Inc for $3 billion and
take it private, the companies said on Sunday. Shares of Giant
rose 1.8 percent to $11.60.