Major Market Averages rallied Monday on strong economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The S&P 500 (^SPX) closed at the highest level since the second week of October 2018 and is just 2% off its all-time high.
The index was +32.79, or +1.16% to close at 2,867.19, the highest level since October 9, 2018 when it was 2,880.34. The 52-week and all-time is 2,869.35.
Retail sales were down 0.2% in February, sales are up 2.7% on the year. Total sales for the period from December 2018 through February 2019 were up 2.2% (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The December 2018 to January 2019 percent change was revised from up 0.2% (±0.5%) to up 0.7% (±0.3%).
Construction spending continued to unexpectedly gain during February, rising solidly 1.0% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,320.3 billion. That’s (±0.8%) above the revised January estimate of $1,307.3 billion, and beating the forecast range.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) manufacturing index (PMI) came in at a solid 55.3 in March, beating the consensus forecast. That’s up 1.1 percentage points from February and new orders remain very solid.
The consensus forecast was 54.2, ranging from a low of 53.0 to a high of 55.5.
Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) was +329.74, or 1.27% higher to close at 26,258.42. The Dow is following its best quarter in nearly a decade.
The NASDAQ Composite (^IXIC) was +99.59, or 1.29% higher to close at 7,828.91.