The Standard & Poor™s 500 Index rallied the most in three weeks, halting a five-day selloff, as data stoked optimism on the economy and Federal Reserve minutes did little to change investor expectations on interest rates.

The S&P 500 jumped 1.2 percent to 2,025.76 at 4 p.m. in New York, after plunging 4.2 percent over the previous five days. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 211.02 points, or 1.2 percent, to 17,582.66. Trading in S&P 500 companies was 14 percent above the 30-day average for this time of the day.

Before today, U.S. equities were off to the worst start for any year since 2008, with the S&P 500 dropping 2.7 percent in the first three sessions of 2015. The losses trimmed the index™s return since the bull market began in March 2009 to 196 percent and followed an advance of 11.4 percent in 2014.

Stocks rallied at the market™s open as data on the labor market and the U.S. trade deficit bolstered confidence in the strength of the economy. Equities extended gains at midday as lawmakers in Chancellor Angela Merkel™s coalition said Germany is leaving the door open to debt-relief talks with Greece™s next government, signaling a more flexible stance than her administration has taken publicly.

Source: Bloomberg