Dow Pops to Record High as Trading Volumes Flag Before July 4 Holiday

The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a record intraday high, leading major U.S. indexes amid lighter trading volume before the Independence Day holiday.

The Dow rose almost 1% to a record 21,562.75 shortly at 11:34 a.m. ET, while the S&P 500 gained 0.35% to 2,431.84. The Nasdaq climbed from an open of 6,173.29 in the early going, but fell 0.44% to 6,112.84 shortly after noon. Energy led market gains Monday, followed by financials, with healthcare and tech underperforming. 

The New York Stock Exchange will close early at 1 p.m. ET on Monday, July 3, and will be closed all Tuesday. Normal operations will resume on Wednesday, July 5.

In Europe, stocks were rising while Asian shares finished the session with gains following a survey that showed Japan's manufacturing outlook improving.

U.S. markets benefited from better-than-expected production data, with the ISM Manufacturing Index rising from 54.9 to 57.8 in June, beating expectations. The index, which measures factory construction, is at its highest level since August 2014, according to CNBC.

"While solid this month, the ISM Index seems to have oversold the relative strength in domestic production early on in the year," Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Stifel Fixed Income, said in a note to clients.

The Markit US manufacturing PMI fell to 52.0 from 52.7 in May, the lowest since September, according to FactSet. 

The Commerce Department's construction spending report, also released Monday, showed no increase in construction spending in May compared to expectations for a 0.3% increase, despite a shortage in available homes, particularly at the low end. Private residential construction spending decreased 0.6% in May, according to the report. The decline is the largest since July 2014, the Associated Press reported.

Separately, Tesla Inc. (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk said the company's $35,000 Model 3 had passed regulatory production requirements. In a series of tweets, the CEO said the vehicle's "handover party" for the first 30 customers would be July 28, and that the car manufacturer would be producing 20,000 Model 3s per month by December.

Shares of the automaker fell 1.32% to $356.85, paring a three-month gain that had reached 29.9% as of Friday, June 30.

Construction giant Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) may face new woes in an ongoing probe by federal authorities. Investigators believe the company failed to submit necessary export filings in a possible attempt to skirt taxes, sources told the Wall Street Journal. The findings are preliminary, the Journal noted.

The stock slipped 0.26% to $107.18 Monday afternoon.

Bankrate Inc. (RATE)  climbed 8.4% to $13.93, the biggest gain since November, after agreeing to be acquired by data company Red Ventures for $14 a share. The transaction has an enterprise value of $1.4 billion.

Footlocker (FL) was the biggest upward mover in premarket trading Monday, rising 7.55% after taking a 36% dive since May. The stock rose 1.48% at market open to $50. The stock's earlier decline was driven by a lackluster earnings report, followed by news that Nike (NKE) would be partnering with Amazon (AMZN) .

Crude oil was higher, paring some of its losses in recent weeks due to global oversupply and stubbornly high production. The commodity reached its lowest level in 10 months on Wednesday, June 21. After 23 weeks of steady gains in the number of operating oil and gas rigs in the United States, the trend reversed last week as the total number fell by one.

West Texas Intermediate crude was up 1.61% to $46.78 Monday afternoon, approaching its eighth consecutive daily gain, a feat the commodity hasn't accomplished since the start of 2010. The benchmark was up 7% last week, finishing higher for its seventh consecutive session on Friday.

The dollar was gaining against major currencies after ending the second quarter down 5.6% for the year, marking the largest two-quarter decline in six years, according to the Wall Street Journal. The dollar fell against the euro for six days last week, facing increasing downward pressure as European and Canadian bankers signaled tightening monetary policy.

Sales from U.S. automakers fell in June, according to reports released today. General Motors Co. (GM) and Ford Motor Co. (F) each reported sales declines of about 5% in June. Automotive research firm Kelley Blue Book expected car sales in June to fall about 4% overall from a year earlier to about 1.46 million, including estimates of a 3.5% decline for GM and a 9.7% decline for Ford.

Despite the sluggish sales report, GM's stock rose 2.32% Monday to $35.74. Ford gained 3.62% to $11.60.

Trading volumes likely won't pick up until after the July 4 break when investors turn their focus to the U.S. jobs report for June. The nonfarm payrolls report, one of the most closely watched data points of any month, will be released Friday, June 7.

The U.S. economy is expected to have added 176,500 jobs in June, according to analysts surveyed by FactSet. Payrolls expanded by roughly 138,000 jobs in May. The unemployment rate is anticipated to have held at 4.3%, while hourly earnings are expected to increase 0.3% on a month-to-month basis.

U.S. stocks ended June on a mixed note, with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average both notching new records during the month while the Nasdaq had its first negative month since October 2016. The S&P 500 gained 0.33% in June, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 1%. The Nasdaq ended 0.9% lower, dragged by a flagging tech sector.

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