NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- U.S. stocks rose on the first day of the new quarter, extending the year's winning streak, after data showed that domestic manufacturing continued to improve last month.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
gained 52 points, or 0.4%, to finish at 13,264. The blue-chip index ranged from 13,297 to 13,154 during the session, and is now up 8.6% in 2012.
Breadth within the Dow was positive with 25 of the 30 components finishing higher. The biggest percentage gainers were
Bank of America
gained 10 points, or 0.7%, to close at 1419. The index is up 12.8% year-to-date, its best beginning in more than a decade. The
tacked on 28 points, or 0.9%, to settle just shy of 3120.
Stocks dipped at the open, but turned around after data showed that U.S. manufacturing continued to expand in March. The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index rose to 53.4 last month from 52.4 in February. Economists according to
were looking for a level of 53. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.
In a separate report, the Commerce Department said that construction spending fell 1.1% in February, extending a 0.8% decrease in January. The data was disappointing given that economists, according to a
survey, were looking for a 0.7% gain in spending, after an originally reported 0.1% loss in January.
After the S&P 500 has pushed ahead by 12% during the first quarter, market-watchers are growing cautious about what the second quarter has in store for the market. Corporate earnings growth is expected at 3.2% for the first quarter, an estimate that's come down in the past few months, according to
The consensus was looking for cumulative growth of 10.2% from S&P 500 member companies in October 2011, when this rally began, but analyst estimate cuts and a high number of negative pre-announcements have pushed the forecast lower. First-quarter earnings season will begin in earnest in mid-April, when the big banks start reporting.
In corporate news, shares of
jumped after the cosmetics company
from privately held competitor Coty.
The unsolicited bid values Avon shares at $23.25 each, a premium of 21% to Friday's close at $19.36. Avon's board set aside the offer from Coty, saying it was similar to an overture made by the company less than two weeks ago and that it doesn't feel the deal is in the best interests of shareholders. Avon's stock jumped 17.2% to close at $22.70.
shares slid Monday after Bank of America Merrill Lynch
, saying a "protracted" investment cycle may weigh heavier on the online mega-retailer's bottom line than expected. The stock lost about 2% to $198.05.
the online deals company, revised its reported fourth-quarter results lower. Its independent auditor determined it has a "material weakness" in its internal controls. Groupon affirmed its first-quarter guidance, reiterating its revenue forecast of between $510 million and $550 million. Shares dropped 17% to $15.27.
is planning a big expansion of its China business, according to reports. The coffee shop operator plans to triple its number of stores in China to 1,500 from 500 by 2015, said John Culver, the head of Starbuck's China and Asia Pacific business, according to
The Wall Street Journal
. Shares gained 1.4% to $56.67.
Sirius XM Radio
is appealing to federal regulators to prevent
from taking over the satellite radio company. Sirius revealed in a filing to the Federal Communications Commission on Friday that Liberty has asked the FCC for permission to take "de facto" control of Sirius. But Sirius asked the FCC to "dismiss or deny" the application, the
Liberty owns preferred stock that is convertible into about 40% of the outstanding common stock of Sirius. Shares of Sirius gained nearly 4% to $2.40.
Credit card processor
said Sunday night it "identified and self-reported unauthorized access into its processing system." Global Payments, in a press release, said hackers accessed its processing system and about 1.5 million card numbers "may have been exported." The company said the breach was confined to North America. It said it believes the "incident is contained." The stock shed 3.7% to $45.74.
On Monday, Germany's DAX gained 1.6% while London's FTSE rose 1.8%.
The jobless rate in the eurozone climbed to 10.8% in February from 10.7% in January, hovering close to the record high of 10.9%, according to Bloomberg. It's the highest level since June 1997.
Adding to concerns about Europe, the Markit Eurozone Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index fell to 47.7 in March from 49 in February, signaling that manufacturing activity in the region is stalling, particularly in France and Germany.
In Asia, data showed that Chinese manufacturing activity rose last month. China's National Bureau of Statistics said over the weekend that its purchasing managers' index expanded to a one-year high of 53.1 in March. However, another measure of manufacturing from HSBC showed a manufacturing contraction.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed down 0.16% while the Nikkei Average in Japan finished higher by 0.26% overnight.
2012 Stock Predictions and Outlook
May oil futures rose $2.21 to settle at $105.23. In other commodities, June gold futures gained $7.80 to settle at $1679.70 an ounce.
The dollar index was 0.1% lower. The benchmark 10-year Treasury was up 6/32, diluting the yield to 2.192%.
-- Written by Chao Deng and Shanthi Bharatwaj in New York
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