Stocks rushed to large gains to begin the week, and the month of July, as all indices gained over 1 percent in early trading on a spate of mixed economic data points.
The enthusiasm that accompanied early trading cooled off slightly by the closing bell, however, with the S&P 500 up 0.54 percent to 1,614.96, the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.44 percent to 14,974.96, and the NASDAQ up 0.92 percent to close at 3,434.49 points.
The June ISM manufacturing report was released early in the day, indicating a nearly two-point jump from May’s 49.0 to 50.9, beating consensus expectations of a slightly weaker gain to 50.5. With a figure greater than 50, the news is positive in that it indicates that American manufacturing is in expansion, however slight. The report’s sub-indices for new orders, production, imports, and exports also showed significant gains, though the employment sub-index fell into contraction territory after hanging on with a reading of 50.1 in the month of May.
Meanwhile, construction spending was up 5.4 percent from the prior year, but still come just shy of the expected 0.6 percent rise as 0.5 percent, though the report also indicated monthly and yearly increases in both private and public residential construction, indicating that the housing market is still doggedly pressing on its slow but steady path to recovery.
The S&P 500 was led by big gains from Apple Inc. (AAPL), up 3.25 percent after applying for an “iWatch” patent in Japan, and being upgraded to a “strong buy” by the advisory firm Raymond Jacobs. Netflix (NFLX) jumped over 6 percent after signing an exclusive deal with Fox Entertainment to air reruns of the popular show New Girl.
Brick and mortar retailer Best Buy (BBY) saw its stock jump nearly 9 percent after Credit Suisse rated the company as a buy and upped its price target from $32 to $40.
The Dow was led by United Technologies Corporation (UTC), who advanced nearly 2 percent after announcing a commitment of $250,000 to fund education programs in math and the sciences.