Dow Climbs as Manufacturing Data Accelerate

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Major U.S. stock indices rose Tuesday after stronger-than-expected manufacturing data suggested the economy is shaking off a slow start to the year amid harsh winter weather.

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.41% to 16,524.32, while the S&P 500 increased 0.62% to 1,883.89. The Nasdaq jumped 1.5% to 4,260.69.
  • "We're getting pretty definitive signs that we're pulling out of the weather funk," Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab, said in a phone interview from New York. 
  • The U.S. composite index from the ISM manufacturing survey for March came in at a reading of 53.7, up from 53.2 previously, and it remained in expansionary territory. Construction spending increased 0.1% in February, as expected.
  • The final Markit U.S. Manufacturing PMI registered 55.5 in March, unchanged from the earlier "flash" reading and down from 57.1 the previous month, but nonetheless at its second-highest level since January 2013.
  • Stocks exhibiting positive action Tuesday included Yahoo! (YHOO) and casino stocks Wynn Resorts (WYNN) and Las Vegas Sands (LVS). Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts were both popping more than 2% on news that gambling revenue growth in Macau increased 13% in March, which was at the higher end of analysts' forecasts. Yahoo! was rising 1.14% after The Wall Street Journal reported that the company is in preliminary discussions to acquire online video service News Distribution Network for $300 million. Celgene (CELG) surged 5% after announcing cooperation with a cancer-drug research firm.
  • The second-largest U.S. carmaker, Ford  (F), climbed 4.6% after March sales topped estimates. The company said deliveries rose 3.3% to 243,417 cars and light trucks last month. General Motors (GM) said its U.S. auto sales rose 4.1%, which beat expectations of just 0.8%. Shares slipped 0.23%
  • BHP Billiton (BHP) gained 2.1% after saying Tuesday it may further overhaul its portfolio amid reports the company is mulling a A$20 billion ($19 billion) divestment of less-profitable assets.
  • In the S&P 500, Intuitive Surgical  (ISRG) was the top gainer, soaring 12.7%, while NASDAQ OMX Group  (NDAQ) posted the worst percentage decline, losing 3.1%.
  • In global economic news, the eurozone unemployment rate was 11.9% in February, according to Eurostat. Estimates called for a jobless rate of 12%. The region's manufacturing sector showed improvement, with Markit reporting a final March reading of 53 for its eurozone manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index. France had its strongest reading since June 2011, with manufacturing returning to expansion with a result of 52.1 against 49.7 in February.
  • By contrast, Chinese manufacturing further weakened for a third month in March, with the HSBC China manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index falling to 48.0 from 48.5 in February, the worst result since last July.
  • Global markets were mostly higher. The Hang Seng closed 1.34% higher while the Nikkei shed 0.24%. The FTSE was gaining 0.82% while Germany's DAX was up 0.5%.
  • Markets closed higher Monday after dovish comments from Yellen assured investors that monetary policy would remain supportive.

-- Written by Andrea Tse, Jane Searle and Joe Deaux in New York

If you liked this article you might like

Forecast for S&P 500, Dow Industrials Remains Bullish, These Charts Show

Dow 20,000! It Should Mean Nothing to Investors, but Then Again...

Tradebird Investors Are Bullish on U.S. Stocks but Bearish on the Euro

Why Home Depot and Boeing Stock Fell Tuesday