Updated from 3:43 p.m. EDT
Stocks in New York stayed strong through the finish Thursday as a decline in oil and a rally in technology helped investors look past a series of otherwise disappointing economic data.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
had a shaky start, but it overcame early losses to close up 93 points, or 0.7%, at 12,991. The
climbed 15 points, or 1.1%, to 1423, and the
tacked on 37 points, or 1.5%, to 2534, as
(CNET - Get Report)
surged on buyout news.
Market sentiment was bearish at the open, but investors perked up after Northeastern factory activity data showed vast improvement. The Philadelphia Fed Index came in at negative 15.6 for May -- still a contraction, but far less egregious than last month's decline of 24.9, and better than the economists' consensus for negative 19.
The Real Story Wrap: May 15
"Overall the survey is soft," said Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist with High Frequency Economics, in an emailed statement, "but its weakness has not been fully reflected in the one industrial survey that really matters, the [Institute for Supply Management] report."
The ISM report is a closely watched survey of nationwide manufacturing numbers.
Shepherdson added that the
industrial output numbers show that "manufacturing is now struggling, though it is certainly not in meltdown." The report revealed that industrial production fell 0.7% in April, worse than the 0.3% decline that had been expected. March was revised to show an increase of only 0.2%, rather than the 0.3% uptick that had been reported.
"The decline in output ex-autos was broad, with falls in consumer goods, materials, construction supplies and business equipment," Shepherdson said. "The dollar value of business equipment produced -- a key indicator of capital spending -- fell a hefty 1.8%, after being flat for the past three quarters or so. Further declines would be very worrying."