US stocks opened higher boosted by a handful of better than expected first quarter earnings reports and report on factory orders that showed that the manufacturing industry strengthened in March despite a robust dollar.
Factory orders for March grew by a better-than-expected 2.1%, slightly above analysts’ expectations, to push US stocks close to their record levels.
“Now that earnings are winding down, all the focus shifts to the Fed,” Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York, told Reuters.
“The markets are stubborn with nothing knocking them down, which frightens me more because you don’t know when the correction will start.”
The S&P 500 Index advanced by 9 points or 0.4% to 2118 points with eight of its ten key sectors, led by utilities and health, trading higher on the day.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up by 74 points or 0.4% to 18098 points to carry through from its 1% gain on Friday.
The technology heavy Nasdaq Composite advanced 22 points 0r 0.4% to 5027 points on gains by technology companies.
Cisco jumped 0.4% after announcing that its CEO John Chambers would step down and become executive chairman with 17-year old company veteran Chuck Robbins replacing him.
Comcast, the largest US cable operator jumped more than 1% to $59.11 after posting a better than expected profit,
Also adding to Monday’s positive tone were gains in European and Asian stocks on the expansion of the Euro zone’s manufacturing activity and hopes of monetary stimulus by China’s central bank respectively.
“China’s authorities are becoming more concerned about the economic downturn,” UBS economist Tao Wang told USA Today.
“In the next couple of months, we expect the government to speed up infrastructure investment with enhanced support from policy banks and cut the benchmark interest rate.”
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