NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Stocks closed their first day of trading in June with slight gains as a range of data from the ISM Manufacturing Index to U.S. personal income underlined recent signs of a strengthening economy.
The S&P 500 was up 0.2%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.16%, and the Nasdaq gained 0.25%. Benchmark indexes closed with gains for the first time in three sessions.
The ISM Manufacturing Index increased to 52.8 in May from 51.5 in April, above estimates of 51.8. That marked its highest level since February. Separately, construction spending increased 2.2% compared to an expected 0.7% gain.
Like all recent data, investors sought to determine what renewed strength might mean for the Federal Reserve's rate hike timeline. Consensus is for a 25-basis-point rate increase from the Fed as soon as the third quarter.
"The Fed has been trying to prepare the markets for the first rate hike for six months now and they have kind of put themselves into a corner where if they don't do at least one small interest rate increase this year, they risk their credibility," said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at the Schwab Center for Financial Research, in a call.
U.S. personal income in April increased 0.4% after a flat reading a month earlier. Economists had expected the measure to tick up 0.3%. Personal spending remained flat, as expected, after a revised 0.5% increase in March.
The focus this week will be on economic data, culminating in Friday's closely watched jobs numbers. Economists hope to see continued strength in the labor market, proof that March's disappointing number was an aberration in a weak first quarter.