The second quarter was off to a bullish start Tuesday as the broad S&P 500 hit a new high fueled by stronger than expected manufacturing data and auto sales.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 75 points, or 0.46 percent to 16533, while the S&P 500 jumped 13.2 points, or 0.7 percent to 1885. The Nasdaq Composite was up 69 points, or 1.6 percent to 4268.
Though the markets as a whole have not performed strongly throughout the same duration, especially considering the amount of money the Fed keeps printing, the S&P 500 increased for its fifth-straight quarter Monday. Overall, stock market gains this year have not been substantial, with the broad-market index only increasing by 1.3 percent.
A wave of global manufacturing data fueled the bull market today.
The Institute for Supply Management’s PMI gauge says U.S. manufacturing activity picked up slightly in March, with measurements to 53.7 from 53.2 the month prior. However, the data missed expectations on Wall Street, which was looking for the gauge to jump to 54.
Readings above 50 suggest expansion, but those below 50 suggest contraction.
Economists are still blaming winter weather for the slow growth, or worse-than-usual weather that was felt across the country despite the UN-Democrat push on global warming.
News of China’s official factory gauge ticking up slightly in March from the month before was received with cautious optimism. But, a private survey still showed contraction in the China’s factory sector. And yet another report showed the eurozone’s factory sector grew in March from the month prior, as the 18-member currency bloc’s economy appears to continue in its recovery. Activity in Germany and France — the two biggest economies — both beat market expectations.
Analysts at Barclays characterized the global data “robust.”
In corporate news, a Senate panel claimed that Caterpillar (CAT) evaded paying $2.4 billion in taxes between 2000 and 2012, while the world’s biggest heavy machinery giant denied charges of dubious accounting practices. Apple (AAPL) is reportedly working on building new screens for the soon-to-be announced iPhone 6, Reuters reported.
Monthly sales figures from the Big Three U.S. automakers are due out on the day. Ford (F) claimed its U.S. March sales increased 3 percent, the largest measure in eight years. Also, Fiat’s (FIATY) Chrysler revealed a 13 percent increase in sales. General Motors (GM) also posted a better-than-expected 4.1 percent increase in sales.
CEO of General Motors, Mary Barra, is expected to testify before Congress over the ignition-switch scandal that hit the No. 1 U.S. automaker late last week and early this week. Since February the company has issued recall notices for roughly 5.5 million vehicles worldwide, including 1.5 million added late Monday.
GM has recalled 2.6 million vehicles over a defect in the ignition switch that may cause the engine to shut off, which has been linked to 13 deaths. Last Friday, the company recalled another 172,000 of the Chevy Cruze model. In a completely different recall notice, 490,200 pickup trucks and SUVs were also recalled. In mid-February, the company recalled 780,000 cars to fix a problem with airbag deployment.
Meanwhile, in commodities, U.S. crude oil futures fell 28 cents, or 0.28 percent to $101.30 a barrel, while Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline fell 0.9 percent to $2.911 a gallon.
Gold, the anti-crisis safe-haven, rose $1.50, or 0.12 percent to $1,285 a troy ounce.