Wall Street climbs to record after manufacturing data

April 1, 2014

New York (Apr 1)  US stocks rose on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 advancing to an intraday record after the latest economic data indicated that economic growth was gaining traction after a harsh winter.

Gains were broad, but areas of the market closely tied to the pace of economic growth were among the day's leaders. Consumer discretionary stocks rose 1.2 per cent while technology shares were up 1 per cent. Both the PHLX housing sector index and the Nasdaq biotechnology index added 1.5 per cent.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity rose to 53.7 in March, its second straight monthly acceleration, from February's read of 53.2, but below the median forecast of 54.0.

"There's a whiff of spring in the economic data, which means we're starting the second quarter with signs that the economy is maintaining the kind of reasonable growth that will continue to support the market," said Jim McDonald, chief investment strategist at Chicago-based Northern Trust Global Investments, which has about $884 billion in assets under management.

"I'm comforted by the rise in discretionary and homebuilding stocks, since those are the ones that really show economic strength. Meanwhile the rise in biotech shows improved risk appetite."

Ford Motor Co jumped 5 per cent to $16.41 after US auto sales rose more than expected in March, following two months during which demand was hampered by weather.

General Motors Co rose 1.3 per cent to $34.88 and Tesla Motors added 2.7 per cent to $214.17.

Among tech names, Google Inc rose 2 per cent to $1,136.42 and Microsoft Corp added 1.1 per cent to $41.44. Both were among the biggest boosts to the Nasdaq 100 index.

The Dow Jones industrial average was up 59.57 points, or 0.36 per cent, at 16,517.23.

The Standard & Poor's 500 was up 7.43 points, or 0.40 per cent, at 1,879.77.

The Nasdaq Composite was up 45.58 points, or 1.09 per cent, at 4,244.58.

Earlier in the session, the S&P 500 rose to 1,884.6, a record level.

Financial data firm Markit said its final US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index slipped to 55.5 in March from 57.1 in February, unchanged from a preliminary reading last week, and the rate of growth and the pace of hiring remained strong.

Construction spending, however, edged up 0.1 per cent in February as outlays on private residential construction projects recorded their biggest decline in seven months.

Source: financeindia

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