By Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Noel Randewich

(Reuters) – The Nasdaq ended sharply higher on Monday, with growth stocks staging a late-day rally after Twitter agreed to be bought by billionaire Elon Musk.

Twitter surged after announcing it would be bought by Musk in a deal that will shift control of the social media giant to the world’s richest person.

The S&P 500 traded in negative territory for much of the session but extended gains after Twitter’s announcement.

“I think it’s just a confidence thing that, hey, there are still people that are willing to pay ridiculous valuations for some companies out there,” said Dennis Dick, a trader at Bright Trading LLC.

Earlier, uncertainty reverberated across world markets, with Chinese shares marking their biggest slump since a pandemic-led selling in February 2020 and European stocks falling to their lowest in over a month on fears of strict restrictions in China. [MKTS/GLOB]

The S&P energy index dropped as Brent crude prices dropped almost 5% toward $100 a barrel. [O/R]

Oil majors Chevron Corp and ExxonMobil, and oilfield services companies Schlumberger NV and Halliburton Co, also fell.

Google-owner Alphabet rallied ahead of its quarterly report after the bell on Tuesday. Microsoft and Facebook owner Meta Platforms also gained.

Nearly a third of S&P 500 index firms are due to report this week. Of the 102 companies in the S&P 500 that posted earnings so far, 77.5% reported above analysts’ expectations, according to Refinitiv data.

“Earnings are going to be crucial to the mindset of the of the average investor. The playbook was buy Apple, buy Netflix, buy Google and throw away the key, but that playbook is no longer working,” said Jake Dollarhide, chief executive officer at Longbow Asset Management. “What is the outlook for these companies going to be?”

The CBOE Volatility index, known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, hit as high as 31.6 points, its highest level since mid-March.

Bleak results from pandemic darling Netflix along with surging bond yields pummeled high-growth stocks last week, bringing year-to-date losses in the tech-heavy Nasdaq to about 18%.

Traders are pricing in big moves by the Fed this year to control inflation after a series of hawkish remarks from policymakers. Fed Chair Jerome Powell last week gave a “go” sign to a half-point rate hike in May and signaled he would be open to “front-end loading” the U.S. central bank’s retreat from super-easy monetary policy.

According to preliminary data, the S&P 500 gained 25.54 points, or 0.60%, to end at 4,297.32 points, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 166.98 points, or 1.30%, to 13,006.28. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 251.80 points, or 0.74%, to 34,063.20.

Silicon Motion Technology Corp jumped after a report that the chipmaker is exploring a sale.

(Reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Devik Jain in Bengaluru and by Noel Randewich in Oakland California; Editing by Maju Samuel and Aurora Ellis)