Dow Adds 143 Points on Encouraging Data

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Stocks finished Monday's session with strong gains, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average turned in a triple-digit bounce, as some upbeat economic figures, including April manufacturing data that exceeded economists' expectations, helped lift buying temperament among traders.

The Dow closed 143 points higher, or 1.3%, to 11,152. The S&P 500 gained 16 points, or 1.3%, to 1202 and the Nasdaq went ahead by 38 points, or 1.5%, to 2499.

On Sunday, Greece secured a 110 billion euro ($147 billion) rescue package from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in exchange for agreeing to stark austerity measures.

U.S. Isn't Going the Way of Europe (Forbes)

With earnings season winding down, Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Jefferies, said investors were thinking more and more about improving economic data this week, with added certainty about Greece helping matters. He is also keeping a watchful eye on the Labor Department's latest April jobs report due at the end of the week.

"As you look at what we were concerned about Friday, part of that was Greece, and the weekend brought some relief there," Hogan said. "The economic data is certainly supportive today, and they might be a sneak preview of the payroll data on Friday. Employment in the manufacturing data was a little stronger than usual, and may bode well for a better-than-expected nonfarm payroll number."

Overseas, Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 1.4% while Japan's Nikkei was closed for a holiday. The FTSE in London was closed for a holiday, and the DAX in Frankfurt was up by 0.5%.

Continental Airlines ( CAL) and UAL's ( UAUA) United Airlines said they reached a definitive agreement to merge, creating the world's largest airline. Their stocks gained 2.3% and 2.4%, respectively.

The Economy

Personal spending rose 0.6% in March, after climbing 0.5% in February, which was in line with what economists had been expecting. March personal income also met expectations, growing 0.3% after the previous month's uptick of 0.1%.

The personal saving rate fell to the lowest rate since September 2008 at 2.7%, which PNC Chief Economist Stuart Hoffman said is consistent with a slower pace of consumer deleveraging, but "does remind us that spending growth cannot increase beyond income growth for very long in a credit constrained environment."

Hoffman expects some consumer spending growth from improved home sales in the second quarter but sees more moderate increases in the third and fourth quarters.

The Commerce Department said construction spending grew 0.2% in March, after slipping 2.1% in February.

The ISM Manufacturing Index climbed to 60.4 in April, the Institute for Supply Management said. The figure compares to March's reading of 59.6.

Ford ( F) shares gained 28 cents, or 2.2%, to $13.30 after it reported April U.S. sales growth of 25% year-over-year.

Chrysler said April sales increased 25%, GM said April sales rose 6.4% from a year ago, while Toyota ( TM) said sales improved 24.4% last month.

Company News

Sysco ( SYY) reported a third-quarter profit of 42 cents, which beat Wall Street's forecast by 2 cents. Quarterly sales of $8.95 billion were also better than expected. The stock traded 1.6% lower at $31.03.

Shares of BP ( BP) took a hit, down 3.8%, after an offshore well operated by BP exploded, causing a massive oil spill. Analysts estimate that spill clean-up costs will be in the billions. BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward told Reuters that the company will pay all legitimate damages.

Apple ( AAPL) announced that it sold its 1 millionth iPad on Friday, less than a month after the device was introduced. Apple shares added $5.26, or 2%, to $266.35.

Norsk Hydro signed a $4.9 billion deal to buy the majority of Vale's ( VALE) aluminum operations.

Private-equity firms Warburg Pincus and Silver Lake Partners are close to buying financial market data provider Interactive Data ( IDC) for $3.1 billion, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Alcoa ( AA) shares were turning in the worst performance on the Dow. Mining and metal stocks came under pressure after China lifted reserve standards and Australian officials pressed for a tax on the group. Alcoa, which is a significant stakeholder in Australian mines, shed 2.1% to trade at $13.15.

After Warren Buffett defended Goldman Sachs ( GS) and CEO Lloyd Blankfein in the wake of fraud charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission, shares added nearly 3% at $149.56.

Financials also finished broadly positive, as the KBW Bank index rose 1.7%.

Commodities and the Dollar

Crude oil for June delivery edged just 4 cents higher to settle at $86.19 a barrel.

Elsewhere in commodity markets, the June gold contract gained $2.60 to settle at $1,183.30 an ounce.

The dollar was trading higher against a basket of currencies, with the dollar index up by 0.5%.


The benchmark 10-year Treasury weakened 10/32, lifting the yield to 3.695%.

The two-year note was slipped 3/32, raising the yield to 1.004%. The 30-year bond fell 7/32, raising the yield to 4.534%.

--Written by Melinda Peer and Sung Moss in New York.