The KBW Bank Index (I:BKX) was up 0.5% to close at 63.48, with all but six of the 24 index components ending with gains.
The broad indices all showed gains of 1% or more, after two pieces of strong economic news out of Asia.China saw a 7.2% increase in exports during August from a year earlier, according to an announcement on Sunday by China's General Administration of Customs. Japan's Cabinet Office on Monday revised its estimate of second-quarter gross domestic product growth for the world's third-largest economy to an annual rate of 3.8% from its preliminary estimate of 2.6%. Optimism in Japan was no doubt boosted over the weekend when Tokyo won its bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics. "Stop underestimating this turn in China already," Jim Cramer wrote in a piece originally published by RealMoney . Cramer added that "China was the primary driver of so many stocks, even as it might not have been a primary driver of the actual earnings. For example, Caterpillar (CAT - Get Report) doesn't have all that much business in China, but it is the place that was most over-inventoried." Shares of Caterpillar were up 3% to close at $85.59. Cramer also wrote that investors should "stop worrying" over President Obama's proposal for Congressional approval of an attack on forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar Assad, to punished alleged chemical weapons use. "That government is despised worldwide, and Obama will not hesitate to take unilateral action if he has to. He also probably has the votes, even though the media says he doesn't," he wrote. Back home, the Federal Reserve reported that consume credit in the United States increased by $10.4 billion during July, for an annual growth rate of 4.4%. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected a consumer credit expansion of $12.3 billion. The consumer credit growth number for June was revised downward to $11.9 billion from $13.8 billion.