* S&P 500 hits intraday record, discretionary names rally
* Ford shares rally after March auto sales
* Medicines Co tumbles after court ruling
* Indexes up: Dow 0.4 pct, S&P 0.5 pct, Nasdaq 1.3 pct
(Updates to late afternoon trading)
By Ryan Vlastelica
NEW YORK, April 1 U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday,
with the S&P 500 advancing to an intraday record after positive
data on factory activity indicated economic growth was gaining
traction after a harsh winter.
Gains were broad, but areas of the market closely tied to
the pace of economic growth were among the day's leaders.
Consumer discretionary stocks rose 1.2 percent while
technology shares were up 1.1 percent.
The PHLX housing sector index rose 1.3 percent and
the Nasdaq biotechnology index added 1.7 percent.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of
national factory activity rose to 53.7 in March, its second
straight monthly acceleration. However, the report was below the
median forecast of 54.0.
The ISM report was the latest economic data to point to
improving conditions, giving credence to the theory that soft
data earlier this year was due to weather and not weakening
"There's a whiff of spring in the economic data, which means
we're starting the second quarter with signs that the economy is
maintaining the kind of reasonable growth that will continue to
support the market," said Jim McDonald, chief investment
strategist at Chicago-based Northern Trust Global Investments,
which has about $884 billion in assets under management.
"I'm comforted by the rise in discretionary and homebuilding
stocks, since those are the ones that really show economic
strength. Meanwhile the rise in biotech shows improved risk
Ford Motor Co jumped 5.1 percent to $16.40 after U.S.
auto sales rose more than expected in March, following two
months during which demand was hampered by weather. General
Motors Co rose 0.4 percent to $34.55.
Among tech names, Google Inc rose 1.3 percent to
$1,128.55 and Microsoft Corp added 1.1 percent to
$41.44. Both were among the biggest boosts to the Nasdaq 100
index, which was up 1.4 percent.
Shares of Cisco Systems jumped 4.6 percent to
$23.25 as the biggest advancer on the Dow. The stock moved on
heavy volume in its biggest daily increase since May 2013.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 64.16 points,
or 0.39 percent, at 16,521.82. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index
was up 9.68 points, or 0.52 percent, at 1,882.02. The
Nasdaq Composite Index was up 54.96 points, or 1.31
percent, at 4,253.95.
Earlier in the session, the S&P 500 rose to 1,884.6, a
record level, and it is on track for a record close.
Financial data firm Markit said its final U.S. Manufacturing
Purchasing Managers Index slipped to 55.5 in March, unchanged
from a preliminary reading last week, and the rate of growth and
the pace of hiring remained strong.
Construction spending edged up 0.1 percent in February as
outlays on private residential construction projects recorded
their biggest decline in seven months.
Intuitive Surgical Inc jumped 11.5 percent to $488
as the best performer on the S&P 500 after the company said the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave marketing clearance for
the company's da Vinci Xi Surgical System.
Medicines Co tumbled 16 percent to $23.86. The
company said the U.S District Court of Delaware ruled a generic
version of its blood thinner made by Hospira Inc did not
infringe two of Medicine Co's patents. Hospira shares gained 1.5
percent to $43.91.
The S&P 500 rose 1.3 percent in the first quarter, matching
its longest quarterly winning streak since 2007, buoyed by gains
Monday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen soothed concerns
about an earlier-than-expected rate hike.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum and Nick Zieminski)