NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks kicked off the new week in better fashion, logging gains of more than 1% on Monday and recovering year-to-date gains on the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average.
The S&P 500 was up 1.4%, the Dow climbed 1.3%, or 226 points, and the Nasdaq added 1.2%.
But, though Wall Street rebounded, the anxieties of last week persisted. Wall Street has been increasingly volatile over the past week as investors debated the likelihood the Federal Reserve would hike rates as soon as June.
"The US will likely enter a new phase of the monetary policy cycle," Societe Generale's Aneta Markowska and Brian Jones said. "We expect the FOMC do drop the 'patient' language on Wednesday, which would mean that from June onwards every meeting is in play for a potential rate increase."
The Fed will kick off a two-day policy meeting on Tuesday morning with a press conference scheduled for midafternoon Wednesday.
Crude oil plummeted to six-year lows on Monday, though recovered a level above $43 a barrel after dipping to just over $42 earlier in the session. By market close, West Texas Intermediate was down 2.3% to $43.87 a barrel. The fresh lows added to losses suffered last week as rig cuts only dented production and the U.S. faces a possible storage crisis in coming months.
"Selling pressure was generated on Friday by the International Energy Agency, which warned that storage capacities could soon be exhausted in the U.S.," said Commerzbank analysts in a note. "The IEA only expects the situation to improve in the second half of 2015 when growth in U.S. oil production looks set to slow."
Procter & Gamble (PG) led the Dow higher, spiking 2% after Bloomberg reported the company was exploring a sale or spinoff of its beauty brands. Plans are reportedly still in the early stages, including which brands would be spun off.
Health care was the best performing sector in Monday's broad-based rally, led by Salix Pharmaceuticals (SLXP) and Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX). Salix jumped 2% after it agreed to Valeant Pharmaceutical's bid of $173 a share. Valeant had previously offered to buy the gastrointestinal drugmaker for $158 a share. The Health Care SPDR ETF (XLV) climbed 2%.
Several economic readings came in weaker than expected on Monday, including homebuilder confidence, which fell to its lowest point since July. The NAHB housing market index slipped to 53 in March, down from 53 a month earlier. Industrial production in February was also shy of estimates, climbing 0.1% and coming in below estimates of 0.2%.
Candy Crush developer King Digital (KING) moved 0.94% higher after being upgraded to "overweight" from "neutral" at JPMorgan. The firm said the company can dwarf smaller competitors as its network grows and new game launches prove successful.
Walt Disney (DIS) shares climbed 0.87% after live-action film Cinderella pulled in $132.5 million worldwide in its weekend debut, including $70.1 million domestically.
General Electric (GE) added 1.7% after agreeing to sell its Australia and New Zealand consumer-lending arm to a group of investors led by investment firm KKR & Co. for $6.3 billion.
Tesla (TSLA) spiked 3.7% after CEO Elon Musk announced a press conference for Thursday in which the alternative carmaker would unveil solutions to "range anxiety." In a tweet, Musk said the announcement would detail a software update for its Model S fleet that would allow the vehicles to drive longer distances between charges.
Netflix (NFLX) was downgraded to "sell" from "hold" at Evercore. Analysts said the video-streaming industry is becoming intensely competitive and poses a challenge to Netflix. Shares fell 3.8%.