A trader keeps his eyes on his screen as stocks...

A trader keeps his eyes on his screen as stocks climbed Tuesday, March 1, 2016. The market was coming off losses the day before. Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Renneisen

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up nearly 350 points Tuesday as stocks rallied encouraged by a strong pickup in construction spending. Banks, the market’s worst-performing sector so far this year, also posted sharp gains.

At the close on Wall Street, the Dow was up 348.6 points, about 2.1 percent, at 16,865.1. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index gained 46.1 points, about 2.4 percent, to 1,978.4. The Nasdaq composite climbed 131.7 points, about 2.9 percent, to 4,689.6.

As the markets closed, the price of U.S. benchmark crude oil was up 62 cents, about 1.8 percent, at $34.37 a barrel in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. About the same time in London, the price of Brent crude, an international benchmark, was up 28 cents, about 0.7 percent, at $36.84.

The market got its wings Tuesday from several pieces of good news on the U.S. economy, including a jump in construction spending to the highest level in eight years. Homebuilders and banks were among the biggest gainers. JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America each rose 5 percent.

Bloomberg News reported a rebound in oil prices in the final two weeks of February helped the U.S. equity benchmark to recover most of its losses last month, which reached as much as 5.7 percent. While the index is still more than 6 percent above a Feb. 11 low, it’s 8.8 percent off an all-time high reached last May.

Still shadowing equities are worries that China’s slowing economy will hurt growth around the globe, a concern compounded by tumbling commodity prices. In another move designed to spur lending, the People’s Bank of China Monday cut banks’ reserve requirements.

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