Markets Gain on U.S., Chinese Manufacturing Growth

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Markets traded higher Friday amid signs of strength in U.S. and Chinese manufacturing.

China's official Purchasing Managers' Index jumped to an 18-month high of 51.4 last month, exceeding the predictions of 51.2, according to a survey of economists by Thomson Reuters. The HSBC/Markit final PMI number rose to a seven-month high of 50.9. 

The S&P 500 rose 0.29% to 1,761.65 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.45% to 15,615.55. The Nasdaq increased 0.06% to 3,922.04.  

"The market is encouraged by the PMI from China and the better than expected result in the US - there are areas of concern and neither result was 'clean', but show the manufacturing sector appeared to weather the government shutdown," Alan Gayle, director of asset allocation at RidgeWorth Investments said in a phone interview. His firm oversees $49 billion in funds.

Fed Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said labor market improvement since September last year may justify a scaling back in the central bank's purchases. "This provides the most powerful part of the case for tapering," Bullard said in a speech in St. Louis on Friday morning. "Two key labor market indicators have shown clear improvement over the last year: unemployment and non-farm payroll employment."

NextEra Energy (NEE) shares rose 4.1% to $88.21 after the largest U.S. renewable-energy generator beat expectations with third-quarter profit of $698 million or $1.64 a share, against $415 million or 98 cents a share a year earlier.

Chevron  (CVX) announced a 5.8% fall in earnings from year earlier to $4.95 billion on Friday morning. But the oil company's revenue climbed 0.8% to $58.5 billion, with rising production levels in both oil and natural gas. Its shares were off 1.6% to $118.01. 

First Solar  (FSLR) shares jumped 17.6% to $59.14 after rallying yesterday. The largest U.S. solar-panel manufacturer beat third-quarter results estimates on Thursday and raised its full-year earnings outlook to a range of $4.25 to $4.50 a share. 

American International Group (AIG) shares fell 6.5% to $48.28. After market close yesterday, management at the insurer said premium revenue at its property-casualty division fell 3.7 percent to $8.43 billion in the third quarter. Third-quarter income rose to $2.17 billion, or $1.46 a share against $1.86 billion, or $1.13 a year earlier. 

The FTSE in London closed up 0.05% while the DAX in Germany lost 0.29%. The Nikkei 225 in Japan closed off by 0.88%, while the Hong Kong Hang Seng increased 0.19%. 

The benchmark 10-year Treasury was falling 1.57% to 2.59, while the dollar was up 0.6% to $80.73 according to the U.S. dollar index. Oil fell $1.77 to close at $94.61, while gold December futures settled down $10.50 to $1,313.20.

--By Jane Searle and Joe Deaux in New York   

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