Materials ETFs see biggest gain in five weeks on hopes for economy

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The materials Sector SPDR ETF rose 2% midday Monday, the strongest performer among the 11 funds tracking sectors of the S&P 500 . It was the fund’s biggest gain in five weeks. Investor interest in materials signals confidence in an improving economy. On Monday, a purchasing manager’s index covering the service sector was stronger than expected, pointing to sturdier growth ahead. Competing products were also higher: the iShares U.S. Basic Materials ETF gained 2%, while the Vanguard Materials ETF was up 2.2%. Some of the best-performing individual stocks in the sector include Albemarle Corporation , up 5.3% on Monday, and Mosaic Co. , up 4.3%. In the year to date, XLB is up 3.1%, fifth among the sector SPDRs.
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