The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index capped its first back-to-back gains in more than a month as energy companies led a rally with crude oil, while Federal Reserve officials started a two-day meeting at which they are widely expected raise interest rates for the first time since 2006.
Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. gained more than 3.8 percent, taking their two-day advances to more than 6.8 percent. Financial shares increased as concern over turmoil in high-yield bonds abated, and banks rallied the most in seven weeks on the eve of what most believe will be the end of the Fed’s zero interest rate policy.
The S&P 500 climbed 1.1 percent to 2,043.41 at 4 p.m. in New York, marking its first consecutive advances since Nov. 3.
Prospects for the first U.S. rate increase since 2006 and a deepening oil rout had sparked a selloff in riskier assets in December. The S&P 500’s 1.8 percent decline is bucking the historical trend of gains in the final month, with the equity gauge is on track for its worst December in 13 years and the biggest annual drop since 2008. It has slipped 4.1 percent since a May record.