US stocks bolstered by positive data


AP and AFP

NEW YORK/HONG KONG–Asian markets mostly fell Tuesday, with Tokyo declining after a 12-day rally, while in Europe Greece’s creditors held impromptu talks aimed at resolving the country’s months-long debt crisis. Stocks in the states rose on Monday after the release of some encouraging economic data and news of a big acquisition in the semiconductor industry.

The gains were modest, but broad. Eight of the 10 industry sectors in the Standard and Poor’s 500 index ended higher, led by industrial stocks with a gain of 0.4 percent.

The S&P 500 rose 4.34 points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,111.73. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 29.69 points, or 0.2 percent, to 18,040.37. The Nasdaq composite climbed 12.90 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,082.93.

In economic news, U.S. manufacturing growth accelerated in May for the first time in six months, propelled by more new orders and an increase in hiring, according to the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group. A separate report showed construction spending climbed in April to the highest level in more than six years.

Investors are anxious about U.S. growth following a series of weak data, capped by news Friday that the economy shrank in the first three months of the year. They’ll have a better sense of the growth outlook later this week after several other economic reports are released, culminating Friday with one on hiring in May.

Investors are also anxious about when the Federal Reserve will raise short-term interest rates. It has held them near zero since for more than six years to encourage borrowing and spending.

In Europe, tensions remain high as Greece inches closer to a Friday deadline to make a debt payment to the International Monetary Fund. Greece is struggling to convince the IMF and creditors in Europe that it has a reform strategy in place so it can get access to more bailout cash.

Germany’s DAX rose 0.2 percent while the CAC-40 in France gained 0.4 percent. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.4 percent.

Asian markets mostly fell Tuesday, with Tokyo declining after a 12-day rally, while in Europe Greece’s creditors held impromptu talks aimed at resolving the country’s months-long debt crisis. However, mainland Chinese shares had advanced more than one percent in the afternoon, adding to the previous day’s surge and almost erasing a near-seven percent slump over Thursday and Friday. Tokyo eased 0.13 percent, or 26.68 points, to 20,543.19, ending the Nikkei’s best winning streak since a 13-day run in 1988 at the height of Japan’s stock market bubble. Shanghai gained 1.69 percent, or 81.79 points, to 4,910.53 adding to the near-five percent rise Monday.

But Hong Kong shed 0.47 percent, or 130.44 points, to close at 27,466.72 while Sydney plunged 1.73 percent, or 99.4 points, to 5,636.0 and Seoul fell 1.13 percent, or 23.73 points, to 2,078.64. Gold fetched US$1,187.15 compared with US$1,185.80 late Monday. In other markets: