Stocks extended solid gains on Tuesday morning, pushing the Dow Jones Industrial Average into positive territory for the year, in a bullish start to the month.
The S&P 500 was up 0.83%, the Dow added 0.95%, and the Nasdaq climbed 0.69%. The S&P 500 and Dow ended November with minimal monthly gains.
Auto sales for November came in higher, though most automakers missed analysts' estimates. Ford's (F - Get Report) sales edged 0.4% higher to 187,794 vehicles in November, well below an expected 3.2% increase. The Detroit automaker said passenger car sales had dropped nearly 12%, which was offset by an 18.3% surge in truck sales.
General Motors (GM - Get Report) posted a 1.5% increase in auto sales, half of what analysts were expecting. Sales in November were driven by Chevrolet which saw a 5% increase in units moved. Chevrolet truck sales rose 10% last month.
U.S. manufacturing activity in November fell to its lowest level in 25 months. The PMI Manufacturing Index fell to 52.8 from 54.1 in October, though was slightly higher than an expected 52.6 reading. New orders and output growth slowed.
A separate read on the manufacturing sector found that activity slipped into a contraction in November. Manufacturing fell to a reading of 48.6 in November from 50.1 a month earlier, according to the ISM Manufacturing Index. Analysts had expected the measure to increase to 50.5.
Construction spending in the U.S. rose 1% in October, double the increase analysts had expected. The reading came in higher than a 0.6% increase in September.
It will be a make-or-break kind of month with major events set to stir Wall Street. The U.S. jobs report for November will be released Friday, a key release that could influence how the Federal Reserve moves at its mid-December meeting. The Fed is largely expected to move off of crises-level rates at its meeting, hiking rates for the first time in nearly a decade.
The Shanghai Composite ended the day slightly higher as the latest data underscored China's shift to a consumer-based economy from one based on manufacturing. Services PMI climbed to 53.6 in November from 53.1 a month earlier, while manufacturing activity bottomed out at a three-year low of 49.6.
Eurozone unemployment slipped to its lowest level for nearly four years in October. Joblessness in the eurozone fell to 10.7% in October from 10.8% a month earlier, reaching its lowest level since January 2012.
Despite a weaker Black Friday, Cyber Monday managed to post a record day of spending. Sales jumped 12% from a year earlier to top out at nearly $3 billion, according to Adobe. Retail stocks including Walmart (WMT - Get Report) and Costco (COST - Get Report) ended Monday lower on fears Cyber Monday would be a repeat performance of Thanksgiving and Black Friday in which total sales fell around 11%.
Infoblox (BLOX) jumped after a better-than-expected quarter. The network software developer earned 13 cents a share in its first quarter, more than double analysts' estimates, while guiding for second-quarter earnings between 12 cents and 14 cents a share. Analysts had expected current-quarter profit of 7 cents a share. The company also authorized a $100 million share buyback program.
Mattress Firm (MFRM) was up more than 6% after agreeing to buy privately-held HMK Mattress, the owner of Sleepy's, for $780 million. The company said it expects to generate annual synergies of $40 million by the third year after the acquisition closes. The deal is expected to be finalized in the first half of 2016.
BHP Billiton (BHP) and Vale (VALE - Get Report) moved higher after Brazil officially filed a $5.2 billion lawsuit against the miners for their involvement in a dam collapse in its southeast. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff blamed the "irresponsible action of a company" and vowed for it to be "severely punished" in a speech at Paris' climate change summit. BHP Billiton had closed Monday lower on reports a lawsuit was looming.