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Stocks rally as Russia pulls back from Ukraine

A trader works on the floor of the

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on the morning of March 3, 2014 in Manhattan. Stock markets in Europe, including in Moscow and Asia, have recouped a large chunk -- though not all -- of Monday's losses, while oil, gold, wheat and the Japanese yen have given back some of their gains. Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton

Relieved investors sent stocks sharply higher Tuesday after Russia pulled troops back from the border of Ukraine.

The rally pushed the Standard & Poor's 500 index to an all-time high, erasing steep losses from Monday, when investors feared that the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine would escalate or even lead to a war.

Traders were relieved when Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops participating in military exercises near Ukraine to return to their bases.

The S&P 500 rose 1.53 percent to close at 1,873.91. It was the biggest gain for the benchmark index since October. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 227.85 points to 16,395.88. The Nasdaq Composite rose 1.75 percent to 4,351.97.

As investors moved back to riskier assets, prices fell for safe-play investments like bonds and gold. Oil prices also fell as the immediate threat of economic sanctions on Russia, a major oil exporter, eased. Traders had also been worried about transportation disruptions in the Black Sea, a major transit point for oil.

The two-day rout and rally was just the latest twist in a volatile year for stocks, which fell almost 6 percent last month and have since recovered to set all-time highs in recent days . -- AP

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