The Standard & Poor™s 500 Index rose the most in three weeks, halting a five-day slump, as data showed the economy continues to strengthen before the release of minutes from the Federal Reserve™s latest meeting.

Stocks extended gains 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.

The Standard & Poor™s 500 Index added 1.1 percent to 2,024.03 at 12:14 p.m. in New York. The benchmark gauge plunged 4.2 percent in five days and fell 2.7 percent for the worst start to the year since 2008. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 175.19 points, or 1 percent, to 17,546.83. Trading in S&P 500 companies was 14 percent above the 30-day average for this time of the day.

Minutes from the Dec. 16-17 Federal Open Market Committee at 2 p.m. Washington time may provide clues on the timing of an interest-rate increase. The Fed pledged to be patient in its approach to raising rates, while Chair Janet Yellen said after that meeting the central bank will probably hold rates near zero through at least the first quarter.

Source : Bloomberg