U.S. stocks rallied in September's final session, with the Standard & Poor's 500 Index rising the most in three weeks, bringing traders some comfort as equities trimmed their worst quarterly decline since 2011.
Investors targeted their buying in some of the third quarter's most-battered companies. Energy, raw-material and health-care shares were among the leaders of the S&P 500's 10 main groups after falling the most since June. All 10 industries in the benchmark advanced Wednesday, while a gauge of volatility had its steepest decline in more than a week.
Investors should expect between $21 billion and $26 billion in buying of equities and some selling of bonds as pension-fund managers rebalance their portfolios at the end of the quarter, Boris Rjavinski, a strategist at UBS AG, wrote in a Sept. 25 report.
The S&P 500 Index climbed 1.9 percent to 1,919.50 at 4 p.m. in New York, the most in three weeks after snapping a five-day losing streak Tuesday. The measure ended September down 2.7 percent.
Mixed messages on Federal Reserve interest-rate policy combined with worries of a China slowdown have put the S&P 500 on track for consecutive monthly declines while creating the most turbulent period for stocks in years. The benchmark is down 10 percent from its record set in May, and came within five points Tuesday of its 2015 closing low reached in August. This quarter's retreat has wiped almost $11 trillion off the value of global shares.
As policy makers closely watch the strength of labor markets for potential cues on when to raise rates, a report today showed companies stepped up hiring in September, indicating the job market is standing firm in the face of weaker global demand.
The September jobs report issued by the Labor Department Friday may show private businesses added about 200,000 employees after a 140,000 increase in August, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. The unemployment rate probably held at 5.1 percent, the lowest since April 2008.