Free audio stream, including stories that are padlocked on our site. Listen on any device, anywhere. Updated twice daily. The audio stream takes several seconds to start on Android devices.Launch Radio player
Stocks on Wall Street traded higher on the first session of the new quarter, boosted by strong manufacturing data.
The Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing index was above expectations. But spending on construction projects fell for the second straight month in February.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 51.92 points, or 0.4%, to 13,263.96 at the close (8am NZ time). The Dow’s first-quarter point gain of 994.48 points, or 8.1%, was its best since 1998.
The S&P 500 index gained 0.7% to 1418.84 while the Nasdaq Composite made the best showing, rising 0.9%, to 3119.70.
The energy and materials sectors paced the S&P 500's gains.
Other markets: Europe up, Asia mixed
European stocks markets pushed off session lows to finish higher. The Stoxx Europe 600 index gained 1.5% to 267.16.
The UK's FTSE 100 index rose 1.9% to 5874.89, Germany's DAX index gained 1.5% to 7056.65 and France's CAC-40 index added 1.1% to 3462.91.
Asian markets were mixed after Chinese government manufacturing survey showed strong expansion in March. This contrasted with readings of contraction shown by an HSBC survey over a week ago.
Japan's Nikkei Stock Average rose 0.3% to 10,109.87, while Korea's Kospi climbed 0.8% to 2029.29 and Singapore's Straits Times Index added 0.2% to 3016.07.
Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index slipped 0.1% to 4329.3, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index gave up 0.2% to 20,522.26 and Taiwan's Taiex declined 0.9% to 7862.90.
Mainland Chinese markets were closed for a holiday.
Commodities: Oil down, gold up
Oil futures extended a decline that began last week as fundamentals weakened and concerns about supply disruptions receded.
Light, sweet crude for May delivery was down 75USc, or 0.7%, to $US102.27 a barrel in New York. Brent crude on the ICE Futures Europe exchange was also down 75USc, or 0.6%, to $US122.12 a barrel.
Gold futures were up 0.7% at $US1684 an ounce.
Currencies: US dollar slips
The US dollar pared gains against the euro. The euro was at $US1.3328 compared with $US1.3343 late on Friday and traded at ¥109.54 compared with ¥110.57.
The dollar fetched ¥82.19 from ¥82.82.
The pound traded at $US1.6027 from $US1.6012, while the dollar bought 0.9033 Swiss franc from 0.9027 franc.