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* March U.S. manufacturing data beats estimates
* U.S. retail sales unexpectedly fall in Feb
* Chipmakers rally on positive China data
* Lyft drops below IPO price on second day of trading
* Indexes up: Dow 0.97 pct, S&P 0.86 pct, Nasdaq 1 pct (Adds comments, updates prices)
By Sruthi Shankar and Shreyashi Sanyal
April 1 (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rallied on Monday, starting off the new quarter on a strong note, after upbeat manufacturing numbers from the United States and China eased worries about slowing global growth.
Wall Street ended the first quarter on Friday, with the S&P 500 logging its best quarter since 2009 as investors bet the United States and China will strike a deal to end their protracted trade war.
The benchmark index, which is trading 2.5 percent away from its record closing high hit in September, triggered a “golden cross” pattern, in which the 50-day moving average crosses above the 200-day moving average.
Many believe the technical signal could portend more gains for stocks in the short term.
Spurring gains in global equities, China’s manufacturing sector unexpectedly returned to growth for the first time in four months in March.
U.S. manufacturing numbers also came in better-than-expected in March, helping investors overlook soft retail sales data for February.
“It is a little bit of relief on China, where we had seen sharp deceleration and now it is showing signs of stabilization which is giving investors some confidence today,” said Eric Wiegand, senior portfolio manager at U.S. Bank Wealth Management.
Financial shares provided the biggest boost to the S&P 500, with bank stocks adding more than 2 percent as the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield hit a one-week high.
Following trade talks which concluded in Beijing on Friday, China’s State Council said over the weekend, it would continue to suspend additional tariffs on U.S. vehicles and auto parts after April 1.
General Motors Co rose 1.51 percent and Ford Motor Co was up 2.11 percent.
Trade-sensitive industrials gained 1.66 percent. Boeing Co rose 1.70 percent, while Caterpillar Inc climbed 2.76 percent, leading gains on the Dow.
Chipmakers, which get a large part of revenue from China, also rose. The Philadelphia Semiconductor index jumped 2.05 percent.
At 11:21 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 252.60 points, or 0.97 percent, at 26,181.28. The S&P 500 was up 24.43 points, or 0.86 percent, at 2,858.83 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 77.36 points, or 1.00 percent, at 7,806.68.
Economic data came as a relief to markets concerned about a global growth slowdown after the Federal Reserve abruptly ended its monetary tightening policy cycle, driving the 10-year U.S. bond yields below 3-month T-bill rates for the first time in more than a decade.
The spread between the closely watched part of the curve turned positive on Friday after a week of being inverted.
Wynn Resorts Ltd jumped 6.51 percent, the most among S&P companies, as March gambling revenue from the Chinese territory of Macau was higher than the previous month.
Lyft Inc shares tumbled 10.88 percent as brokerage Guggenheim Securities started coverage of the ride-hailing startup’s shares with a ‘neutral’ rating. The company debuted on the Nasdaq on Friday.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 2.61-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 2.20-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.
The S&P index recorded 59 new 52-week highs and no new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 60 new highs and 18 new lows. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)