Investors haven't subscribed to the 'sell in May and go away' mantra so far. Stocks shook off the dour end to April and sprang higher on the first trading day of the new month, thanks to a surge in consumer stocks.
The S&P 500 was up 0.82%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.66%, and the Nasdaq rose 0.88%.
Benchmark indexes fell more than 1% last week after Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report suffered its worst three-day stretch since early 2013, following its first quarterly sales decline in 13 years.
Apollo Education Group (APOL) led the consumer sector higher, climbing 13% after private-equity firm Apollo Global Management (APO) - Get Apollo Global Management Inc. Class A Report raised its takeover bid to $10.50 a share from $10. The deal is now valued at $1.14 billion. The University of Phoenix's online college company delayed a shareholder vote on the deal last week after major stakeholders said the offer was too low.
Sysco (SYY) - Get Sysco Corporation Report added 5.5% after topping analysts' earnings estimates in its third quarter thanks to lower food costs. The business-to-business food services company earned an adjusted 46 cents a share, besting expectations by 4 cents. Sales of $12 billion came in above forecasts of $11.9 billion.
Other non-cylical consumer stocks such as Anheuser-Busch (BUD) - Get Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV Sponsored ADR Report , Unilever (UN) - Get Unilever NV ADR Report , Kraft Heinz (KHC) - Get Kraft Heinz Company (KHC) Report , and Mondelez (MDLZ) - Get Mondelez International, Inc. Class A (MDLZ) Report were higher, while discretionary spending names such as Netflix (NFLX) - Get Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) Report , Amazon (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report , Home Depot (HD) - Get Home Depot, Inc. (HD) Report , and Disney (DIS) - Get Walt Disney Company Report jumped. The Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLP) - Get Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund Report added 1.1%, while the Consumer Discretionary SPDR ETF (XLY) - Get Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund Report climbed 1.4%.
Crude oil prices were in retreat after an increase in Middle Eastern output overshadowed declining production in the U.S. Crude production from members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries climbed to 32.6 million barrels in April. Russia, the biggest exporter outside OPEC, also increased monthly crude for seaborne exports by more than 7% in April. West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed 2.5% lower at $44.78 a barrel, its lowest level since April 26.
"The petroleum markets have tipped to the downside in light May Day holiday trade on concern that OPEC production is on the rise, with Iranian output climbing to 3.4-3.5 [million barrels per day] in April, and Iraqi exports said to be running at a near-record level," Timothy Evans, energy futures analyst at Citi, wrote in a note.
Energy stocks were the worst performers on markets Monday. Major oilers Statoil (STO) , PetroChina (PTR) - Get PetroChina Company Limited Sponsored ADR Report , and ConocoPhillips (COP) - Get ConocoPhillips Report were all lower, while the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE) - Get Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund Report slipped 0.13%.
Manufacturing growth in April fell to 50.8, according to the ISM Manufacturing Index. Economists expected the measure to fall at a slower pace to 51.5 after a reading of 51.8 in March. Both production and new orders softened after a strong showing in March. The employment index remained in negative territory, indicating further manufacturing job losses on the horizon.
"The prospect of a renewed wobble in U.S. manufacturing comes at a difficult time for the wider economy," said David Tulk, head of global macro strategy at TD Securities. "First-quarter growth was quite subdued and all eyes are focused on the ability of activity to improve heading into the second quarter. This release, among others, challenges this narrative and points to continued sluggishness in the U.S. economy."
Construction spending in the U.S. rose just 0.3% in March, the strongest level since October 2007, but slower than expected 0.5% growth. Spending rose 1% in February. Private construction, particularly in the residential space, helped to boost overall spending in the final month of the first quarter.
Halliburton (HAL) - Get Halliburton Company (HAL) Report and Baker Hughes (BHI) dominated business headlines on Monday after calling off their $28 billion merger amid intense scrutiny from antitrust regulators. The Department of Justice confirmed the news, applauding the abandonment of the deal as "the only result that could adequately protect American consumers." The transaction would have combined the second- and third-largest oilfield services firms in the world.
Baker Hughes announced plans to cut $500 million in costs and repurchase $1.5 billion of shares and $1 billion in debt. The oilfield services company plans to fund its buyback program with the $3.5 billion breakup fee it receives from Halliburton.
Japanese stocks slid more than 3% overnight as the Bank of Japan's inaction on fresh stimulus continued to disappoint investors. The central bank had widely been expected to increase its asset-purchase program. Japanese markets were closed Friday for a national holiday and had not yet had the chance to fully digest the news. The yen hit an 18-month high against the U.S. dollar.