U.S. stocks rose, extending a quarterly advance, amid corporate mergers and optimism central banks will support global growth.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index advanced 1.2 percent to 2,086.22 at 4 p.m. in New York, maintaining its longest streak of quarterly increases since 1998. With a 0.2 percent advance on Friday, the index completed its first back-to-back gain after 28 days, the longest drought since 1994.
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Friday that the central bank will probably raise rates this year, with subsequent increases taking place gradually, without following a predictable path. China’s central bank chief said the government can do more to support growth in the world’s second-largest economy.
First-quarter profits for S&P 500 companies are forecast to decline for the first time since 2009. Companies will see a contraction of 5.8 percent for the three-month period, according to economist estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Earnings growth forecasts for the quarter were positive as recently as January, the data show.