Stocks gain on strong factory data

The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index rises more than expected. Joblessness in the eurozone hits a 14-year high. Gold and oil prices gain.

By TheStreet Staff Apr 2, 2012 7:42AM

TheStreetImage: Wall Street sign (© Corbis/SuperStock)By Chao Deng


Updated at 12:58 p.m. ET


U.S. stocks were rising Monday after data showed that domestic manufacturing has continued to improve even as construction spending dipped earlier in the year.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average ($INDU) was up by 72 points, or 0.6%, at 13,284. The S&P 500 ($INX) was up 12 points, or 0.9%, at 1,421. The Nasdaq ($COMPX) was gaining 26 points, or 0.9%, at 3,118.


Stocks declined as the market opened, but the selling slowed after data showed that U.S. manufacturing continued to expand in March. The Institute for Supply Management said its factory index, a gauge of manufacturing in the U.S., rose to 53.4 in March from 53.4 in February. Economists had expected the index to rise to 53.


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The report countered new data from the Commerce Department that said contruction spending fell 1.1% in February, following a 0.8% decline in January. Economists had forecast a 0.7% in increase.


“There’s not a lot of direction in the market either way,” said Rex Macey, chief investment officer of Wilmington Trust Investment Advisers.

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After the S&P 500 rose 12% in the first quarter, market watchers are cautious about the second quarter. Corporate earnings are expected to grow 3.2% for the second quarter, down from 10.2% forecast in October, according to Thomson Reuters. Many companies have warned that their quarterly results might be weaker than expected, hurting the overall forecast.


The strong manufacturing data boosted stocks in Europe. Germany's DAX was up 0.3% while London's FTSE was rising 0.6%.


The jobless rate in the eurozone climbed to 10.8% in February from 10.7% in January, hovering close to the record high of 10.9%, according to Bloomberg. It’s the highest level since June 1997.


Adding to concerns about Europe, the Markit Eurozone Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index fell to 47.7 in March from 49 in February, signaling that manufacturing activity in the region is stalling, particularly in France and Germany.


In corporate news, Coty Products offered to buy rival Avon Products (AVP)for $23.25 a share in cash, or about $10 billion. Coty said the proposal is a premium of 27% over the three month volume-weighted average price for Avon.


Groupon (GRPN 0.00%), the online deals company, revised its reported fourth-quarter results, saying they were less than reported. Its independent auditor determined it has a "material weakness" in its internal controls. Groupon affirmed its first-quarter guidance, reiterating its revenue forecast of between $510 million and $550 million.


Starbucks (SBUX 0.00%) is planning a big expansion of its China business, according to reports. The coffee-shop operator plans to triple its number of stores in China to 1,500 from 500 by 2015, said John Culver, the head of Starbuck's China and Asia Pacific business, according to The Wall Street Journal.


Sirius XM Radio (SIRI 0.00%) is appealing to federal regulators to prevent Liberty Media (LMCA 0.00%) from taking over the satellite radio company. Sirius revealed in a filing to the Federal Communications Commission on Friday that Liberty has asked the FCC for permission to take "de facto" control of Sirius. But Sirius asked the FCC to "dismiss or deny" the application, the Journal said. Liberty owns preferred stock that is convertible into about 40% of the outstanding common stock of Sirius.


Credit card processor Global Payments (GPN 0.00%) said Sunday night it "identified and self-reported unauthorized access into its processing system. " Global Payments, in a press release, said hackers accessed its processing system and about 1.5 million card numbers "may have been exported. "The company said the breach was confined to North America. It said it believes the "incident is contained."


Monday begins a shortened trading week. On Friday, the government will release its monthly jobs report for March, but U.S. markets will be closed for Good Friday.


In Asia, data showed that Chinese manufacturing activity rose last month. China's National Bureau of Statistics said over the weekend that its purchasing managers index expanded to a one-year high of 53.1 in March, compared to another measure of manufacturing from HSBC that had showed a manufacturing contraction.


Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed down 0.16% while the Nikkei Average in Japan finished higher by 0.26% overnight.


May oil futures were gaining $1.06 to $104.08. June gold futures were rising $11.90 to $1,683.80 an ounce.


The dollar index was 0.12% higher. The benchmark 10-year Treasury was down 3/32 pushing the yield to 2.223%.

Apr 2, 2012 9:30AM
Nothing to talk about my a&&.  We are in the middle of this gigantic takeover by the rich via poltitical corruption of all the money in the USA and we have nothing to talk about.  Public school educated dumb down.  Ya gotta get out and throw a fit.  Be confrontational, act up, spit in the eye of the man.  Stub your toe today or break your ankle next week.  NOW is the time to change this system.  Nothin to talk about?  Maybe if you folks would give the politicians the same crap you give each other here things might get better. 
Apr 2, 2012 9:44AM

Deklen; Attacking each other offers the powers at be the best defense they can get and it is free.  As long as Americans blindly follow this path of Dems versus Reps we will get nowhere. Of course nowhere is a place too many Americans have been dumbed down to accept.  Think out of the box.  Think better, create better, act better.  Don't let someone from ACORN tell you what you need and how to act!

Apr 2, 2012 11:48AM

Discussing and implimenting changes in tax rates is important.  The single most important and saddest; perhaps even the most reprehensible, is that with all these taxes and HC the USA ranks somewhere around 20th in education in the the world.  Get it?  It is not the tax rate it is the honest committment to give a damn about each other and our children where we are falling like a rock.  We have been baffled like BS by our goverment and the media to where none of us trust each other or really give a damn about each other.  And being ranked 20th in the world in effective education should give the best clue as to where we are heading.

Apr 2, 2012 10:55AM

Well...  According to CBO, Obamacare will actually increase healthcare outlays by the government istead of saving anything.  The costs have roughly doubled since their first estimate.  As of now Obamacare if it survives will add about 170 billion a year to the deficit.  And the CBO says further upward cost revisions are likely.   Mind you much ot these cost revisions are based upon a 2.0% long term treasury (good luck on that estimate).   If interest rates were to reach 4% the projected  deficit would be even greater.   The other part assumes the states will raise their taxes to fund the Medicaid portion of the bill.  These increases on the state level are not counted in the estimates either.  It also assumes that cuts to medicare providers will actually happen (I would bet they  never do).  All in all, Obamacare is likely to increase costs closer to 240 billion per year.  More like 400 Billion if you factor in the Medicaid taxes the states will need to raise. 


A very costly new entitlement indeed...  But thankfully one not likely to survive the constitutional challanges. 



Apr 2, 2012 10:11AM
Don't worry the market may be down now but those in control will push a few buttons and the market will be "soaring" by the end of the day.
Apr 2, 2012 12:17PM
All I have to do is go to a grocery store and stand in line as they pull out their food stamps, vouchers or quest cards to unload their 2 or 3 carts full of food.
Always nice when they pull a roll of cash out of their pocket as they search for their EBT card, which is inevitably stuck under the keys to the Escalade.
Apr 2, 2012 11:05AM

very interesting arguments on the constitutional details of the obamacare plan.  if you take out the "health issue" and look at it as a government imposed thing, it's a significant law that has no basis in constitutional law.  it could readily be imposed by the states, but not by the feds. 


meanwhile, all the fuss has enabled the medical insurance companies lots of opportunity to raise their rates for any number of foggy reasons. 


A very costly new entitlement indeed...  But thankfully one not likely to survive the constitutional challenges. 
Apr 2, 2012 10:33AM

rose to 53.4 in march from 53.4 in february??? am i the only one scratching my head as to how that is a rise? did i miss the day in school where having the same number 2 months in a row is a rise?


i guess that's supposed to make me buy stocks? as europe unemployment is up and manufacturing is down there?  

Apr 2, 2012 10:27AM


How can a number rise to the same number?

First don't say if these guys would have jobs they would not be on welfare. 

What I am saying is that the government if they are going to pay people to be on welfare should demand that they do something useful like a job cleaning up the streets or baby sitting other welfare mom's kids so those moms can do something useful like get an education or clean the streets or dig ditches.

I would expect that once we started to find things for these welfare people to do besides buy drugs and watch TV with taxpayer dollars that we will see them wanting to improve their lives.

Otherwise they are retired pretty much like most of us will be when we retire just barely getting by. Only they are doing it when they are in their 20's and with the new Obama Care the government will pick up their health care also. 

Perhaps we should send them down to Mexico as an exchange program our poor and not willing to work for their poor and willing to work. 

2 minutes ago
Stuck...keeping people reliant on government programs is helping people? I live in a welfare state and see every day how 20 somethings sit around doing nothing because they get free money in the way of welfare. They get food stamps too, so why work? Why better their position in life? Wisconsin is primarily a democrat state. It seems to me a couple generations have become the entitled ones and this is thanks to the democrats
Apr 2, 2012 12:19PM
Until Speculation Practices are reformed by Congress in oil futures trading, this economy does not stand a chance in hell of ever fully recovering. These Greedy Traders are putting the average working American family further behind every day with skyrocketing fuel and food prices. When is someone going to have the balls to take these people down. They are stealing from all of us each and every day with their Greed.
Apr 2, 2012 10:51AM

Obamacare cheap? He said it would be under a trillion cost or wouldn't do it. They took out the doc fix and didn't include the over 100 billion in starting cost just to get it there. Nice math.


 Now the new CBO estimate is almost double the original estimate just 2 years in with most of it not even started yet. And that STILL DOES NOT count doc fix or start up. LOL 2 Trillion cost and just getting started. This thing will be a minimum of 4 times original estimate (all govt programs are) before it is said and done. Add all kinds of new agencies and thousands of new govt workers and that is gonna save us money?

Apr 2, 2012 11:57AM

Deklen, if their lives aren't great what should be done? Throw more money at them? Educate them more? (they have the same opportunities as everyone else, they choose not to go to school) Government can't give people pride in themselves. It is an individual decision. They choose to live on the programs because they can. Some need the programs, this I will admit. The 20 somethings that are healthy and capable of working, this is something entirely different.

Apr 2, 2012 9:25AM
Well here comes the "Hype & Hope" prior to release of any reports.  Got to make sure everyone is ready to pour money into the market to keep it propped up.  Some things just never change..
Apr 2, 2012 11:24AM
Stuck...keeping people reliant on government programs is helping people? I live in a welfare state and see every day how 20 somethings sit around doing nothing because they get free money in the way of welfare. They get food stamps too, so why work? Why better their position in life? Wisconsin is primarily a democrat state. It seems to me a couple generations have become the entitled ones and this is thanks to the democrats.
Apr 2, 2012 10:47AM
WASHINGTON, March 30 (Reuters) - The United States will hold the dubious distinction starting on Sunday of having the developed world's highest corporate tax rate after Japan's drops to 38.01 percent, setting the stage for much political posturing but probably little tax reform.
We should be so proud....
Apr 2, 2012 12:33PM

Swag - I have worked continuously since July of 1994. Been laid of 3 times. The last time, March 2009. I took a security job while still getting severance from Delphi, and collected NO unemployment. I studied to be a HS math teacher, and taught for 4 semesters. Took me 4 months to get my certificate, and had 2 jobs the week I got the certificate. Now I am back in engineering, and things are great.


I don't believe in government handouts except for the truly needy.

Apr 2, 2012 12:14PM
Dek, they grow up in the system and know how to play it. The more kids you have, the more you get. It used to be a joke that Illinois folks would come up here because welfare was easy to get. They would still drive around with Illinois plates on their cars and collect Wisconsin welfare. As for knowing them, no not really. All I have to do is go to a grocery store and stand in line as they pull out their food stamps, vouchers or quest cards to unload their 2 or 3 carts full of food.
Apr 2, 2012 11:37AM

i enjoy hearing about the nice hand outs people get!  remember nadia suraman?  the octomama?  12 babies from invitro fertilization? 


well she just went on welfare and is getting $2000 a month from the state! 


isn't that great?  i'm so happy she's been able to do so well on her personal set of choices! 


Cost is not the only issue. The BIGGER issue is HEALTH! Over 40,000,000 Americans have the ER as a health plan, no insurance. For the vast majority it is not by choice. We can do better than the ER plan. A plan with a couple of doctor visits a year, and basic coverage can be economical.
All you haters out there would rather see the uninsured suffer? Sorry I am not like that.
Apr 2, 2012 11:45AM
I hate healthcare insurance companies, and want to see them compete with the government.
Impossible - government can (and does) operate at a loss for decades, for-profit companies cannot.
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