May 1, 2012 / 2:26 AM / 6 years ago

Stocks, dollar rise on U.S. factory data

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks and the dollar rallied on Tuesday after data showed U.S. manufacturing grew in April at the strongest pace in 10 months, soothing recent worries about the economy.

Safe-haven Treasuries prices fell, while gold retreated from two-week highs as the data dampened speculation the Federal Reserve would adopt fresh monetary easing measures to boost growth.

Overseas trading was limited, with many markets in Asia and Europe closed for the May Day holiday.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed at its highest level in more than four years after the Institute for Supply Management said its index of national factory activity rose to 54.8 from 53.4 in March, exceeding expectations of 53.0.

“The view on the economy has swung from optimism to pessimism of late and this could bring us back to the middle,” said Nick Bennenbroek, head of FX strategy for North America at Wells Fargo in New York. “ISM suggests there’s no real reason to get too concerned about the path of the U.S. economy at this point.”

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI closed up 65.69 points, or 0.50 percent, at 13,279.32. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX ended up 7.91 points, or 0.57 percent, at 1,405.82. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC was up 4.08 points, or 0.13 percent, at 3,050.44.

The MSCI world equity index .MIWD00000PUS gained 0.2 percent to 329.38.

World stocks posted a loss of about 1.5 percent last month as worries about global growth resurfaced after data showed the U.S. economy cooled in the first quarter and the euro zone recession was deepening.

The weakness has spread elsewhere. The British manufacturing sector barely grew in April, hit by the economic slowdown in the euro zone, while Canada said its economy unexpectedly shrank in February.

Adding to bullish sentiment were signs of recovery in Chinese manufacturing. China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to a 13-month high in April, suggesting the world’s second-largest economy has found a footing and may be recovering from a first-quarter trough.

AUSSIE TUMBLES

The Australian dollar fell nearly 1 percent against its U.S. counterpart after the Reserve Bank of Australia slashed rates by a deeper-than-expected 50 basis points. Domestic government bond yields hit 60-year lows.

    The dollar rose 0.5 percent to 80.16 yen, rebounding from a low of 79.62, its weakest since February. The stronger yen hit Japan's export-related equities, sending the Nikkei index .N225 down 1.8 percent to a 2-1/2-month closing low.

    The euro was little changed at $1.3235, off an earlier one-month high of $1.3283.

    Light volumes were expected before Thursday’s European Central Bank meeting, Friday’s U.S. nonfarm payrolls report and weekend elections in Greece and France.

    Strong U.S. and Chinese data brightened prospects for oil demand, sending U.S. crude futures to their highest level in five weeks.

    NYMEX June crude closed up $1.29, or 1.23 percent, at $106.16 a barrel, the highest settlement since March 27. Brent crude rose 19 cents to end at $119.66 a barrel.

    Gold inched up to a two-week high and last traded down 0.1 percent at $1,663.11 an ounce. Tuesday’s loss ended the metal’s five-day rally which saw prices climb 1.6 percent.

    The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was down 9/32, with the yield at 1.96 percent. Benchmark yields, however, are still hovering at their lowest levels in nearly three months.

    Additional reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss and Angela Moon; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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