New York: US stocks rose on Monday, sending the S&P 500 to its highest close in seven months, as reassuring economic data reinforced hopes that demand will stabilize, while General Motors’ long-expected bankruptcy filing ended uncertainty about the automaker’s fate.
Data showing that the US manufacturing sector contracted in May at a slower rate than expected fueled hopes the US recession that began in December 2007 is moderating.
Investors were also encouraged by signs of manufacturing stabilization from China, with demand from emerging markets for commodities and other resources seen leading a revival of global growth.
“There’s a potential for green shoots,” said Alan Lancz, president of Alan B. Lancz & Associates Inc, an investment advisory firm based in Toledo, Ohio, referring to signs of economic stabilization. “The best news has been the growth in China. Investors are betting on growth stimulus from the emerging markets.”
The Dow Jones industrial average shot up 221.11 points, or 2.60%, to 8,721.44. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index gained 23.73 points, or 2.58%, to 942.87. The Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 54.35 points, or 3.06%, to 1,828.68.
After the bell, American Express Co, a Dow component, announced a plan to raise $500 million in a common stock public offering, driving its stock down 1.2% to $25.67 in extended-hours trading. American Express ended Monday’s regular session up 4.6% at $25.99.
Also off late were shares of JPMorgan Chase & Co after the bank said it plans to raise $5 billion of common equity, which it said will enable it to repay this month the $25 billion it took from the government’s bank bailout plan.
JPMorgan fell 0.9% to $35.79 after hours. It had ended regular NYSE trading down 2.1% at $36.11.
The broad-based advance extended the US stock market’s recovery from the 12-year closing low of March 9, with the benchmark S&P 500 now up about 40% since then.
The S&P 500’s gain on Monday marked its highest close since last November, and the Dow climbed to its highest finish since January. The Nasdaq had its highest close since October 2008.
The S&P 500 hit another crucial milestone, ending above its 200-day moving average for the first time since December 2007, a feat that some analysts took as possibly a harbinger of additional gains ahead.
In Monday’s rally, the standouts included shares of big manufacturers such as Boeing Co, which rose 6.4% to $47.70, while United Technologies Corp added 5.1% to $55.27.
Shares of energy companies also surged, with Chevron Corpup almost 4% at $69.21 as front-month US crude oil futures climbed $2.27 to settle at $68.58 a barrel. Exxon Mobil Corp shot up 3.5% to $71.76.
Shares of other natural resources companies also gained. Aluminum producer Alcoa Inc added 6.6% to $9.83, while miner Freeport-McMoran gained 6.8% to $58.12.
China’s manufacturing sector continued to expand moderately in May as new export orders improved, two surveys showed, adding to tentative signs the world’s third-largest economy was stabilizing.
As expected, General Motors filed for bankruptcy on Monday, marking an historic fall from grace for a storied American corporation. The filing eliminated some market uncertainty about the future of the automaker that has received billions of dollars in government money to stay afloat.
“The Chrysler bankruptcy looks like it’s finishing up smoothly and investors are hoping that the same thing is in the cards with the GM situation,” Lancz said.
Following the bankruptcy filing, Dow Jones Indexes said GM will be removed from the Dow Jones industrial average and will be replaced by Cisco Systems Inc. Embattled financial company Citigroup Inc will also be deleted from the Dow average and Travelers Cos Inc will take its place.
Cisco, a maker of networking equipment, provided one of the biggest boosts to the Nasdaq, rising 5.4% to $19.50, while Travelers gained 3.1% to $41.91 on the New York Stock Exchange.
GM shares ended unchanged at 75 cents, a day before their suspension by the NYSE, while Citigroup slipped 0.8% to $3.69.
On Tuesday, GM’s stock is expected to start trading on the Pink Sheets under a new ticker symbol.
Standard & Poor’s said GM will be removed from the S&P 500 after the close of trading on Tuesday, June 2nd. It will be replaced by education company DeVry Inc, whose stock jumped 4.1% to $46.20 after the bell.
Volume on the NYSE was decent on Monday, with about 1.50 billion shares changing hands, slightly above last year’s daily average of 1.49 billion shares. On the Nasdaq, about 2.61 billion shares were traded, above last year’s daily average of 2.28 billion.
The market’s breadth was overwhelmingly positive, reflecting the rally’s strength. On the NYSE, advancers outnumbered decliners by a ratio of slightly more than 4 to 1. On the Nasdaq, three stocks rose for every one that fell.