U.S. Stocks Rise Broadly to Start December

Date : 12/03/2012 @ 10:26AM
Source : Dow Jones News

U.S. Stocks Rise Broadly to Start December

--Stocks rise broadly to start December

--Global manufacturing data comes in mostly positive

    By Alexandra Scaggs and Tomi Kilgore 

NEW YORK--Stocks started December strong on the back of positive global manufacturing data and as investors looked ahead to a production reading in the U.S.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 54 points, or 0.4%, to 13079. Of the average's 30 components, 26 recently rose.

The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index gained six points, or 0.4%, to 1422 and the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 17 points, or 0.6%, to 3028.

The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing purchasing managers index for November is due out at 10 a.m. EST. The median estimate among surveyed economists is for a slight decline to 51, from 51.7 in October. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.

"Manufacturing numbers are driving" the gains, said Rocky White, senior quantitative analyst with Schaeffer's Investment Research. He added, "December is typically bullish ... so it's good to have seasonal bullishness on your side."

Also at 10 a.m., figures on construction spending for October are due to be released. Outlays are expected to increase 0.5% from September.

European markets were broadly higher, with the Stoxx Europe 600 up 0.6% at a 1 1/2-year high, as Greece's plan to reduce its debt burden helped bolster investor confidence. Separately, euro-zone manufacturing contracted in November, but at a slower pace than in the previous month, indicating that the worst of the slowdown could be over.

Greece's debt agency announced plans to repurchase up to EUR10 billion worth of its outstanding debt, sending the country's bonds and stock market surging. Greece's ASE Composite ran up 1.7%.

Asian markets were mostly higher after encouraging data on China's manufacturing sector. The Chinese government's official purchasing managers index for November rose to a seven-month high of 50.6, up from 50.2 in October. And HSBC's PMI for November rose to 50.5 from October's 49.5. Readings above 50 indicate expansion.

Japan's Nikkei Stock Average edged up 0.1% to a seven-month high and Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6% to a six-week high, while China's Shanghai Composite bucked the trend by shedding 1% to a near-four-year low.

Front-month crude-oil futures tacked on 1.3% to $90.07 a barrel, while December gold futures rose 0.3% to $1,717.50 a troy ounce. The dollar lost ground against both the euro and the yen. Yields on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury bond rose to 1.652% as prices fell.

In corporate news, shares of Yahoo fell 0.5% after a Mexican court ordered the Internet media company to pay $2.7 billion to Worldwide Directories and Ideas Interactivas, which accused Yahoo and its subsidiary Yahoo de Mexico SA of breach of contract related to a yellow-pages listings service.

SuperValu jumped 8.4% after The Wall Street Journal reported that private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management is willing to pursue multiple options for a deal with the grocer, including purchasing the entire business or one chain of stores.

Dell rallied 8.3% after analysts at Goldman Sachs raised their investment rating on the personal computer maker to buy from hold and raised its 12-month price target to $13 from $9.

Meanwhile, Research In Motion edged 1.5% lower. Canaccord Genuity analysts downgraded the BlackBerry maker to sell from hold, citing concerns about the new BlackBerry 10 launch.

Deckers Outdoor gained 9.5% after an upgrade from Sterne Agee to buy from neutral. Shares have rallied in recent weeks on Wall Street optimism that much of the worst is over for the embattled footwear and outdoor-apparel maker, which closed at three-year lows last month.

HCA Holdings rose 2.4% after it announced plans to pay a special cash dividend of $2 a share on or before Dec. 31. The hospital operator said the dividend will be funded through the proceeds from a $1 billion debt offering.

Write to Alexandra Scaggs at alexandra.scaggs@dowjones.com and Tomi Kilgore at tomi.kilgore@dowjones.com

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