While you were sleeping: Wall Street rallies to record

Wall Street climbed, pushing the Dow and the S&P 500 to record highs, as solid manufacturing data from the US and China bolstered optimism about the outlook for the world's two largest economies.

The Institute for Supply Management's index of national factory activity was at 55.3 in June, barely budging from the five-month high of 55.4 in May. Separately, Markit's final US manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to 57.3 in June, the highest level since May 2010.

"It's all very constructive," Jacob Oubina, senior US economist at RBC Capital Markets in New York, told Reuters. "The second half of the year should look much, much better for capex (capital expenditure) investment."

In the final hour of trading in New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.87 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index added 0.86 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite Index rallied 1.34 percent. The Dow is nearing the 17,000-point mark.

Gains in shares of IBM and Pfizer, last up 3 percent and 2.1 percent respectively, led the advance in the Dow. The Dow climbed as high as a record 16,998.70 earlier in the session, as did the S&P 500 which touched 1,978.58.

Another report showed US construction spending rose 0.1 percent in May, following a 0.8 percent gain in April.

In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index ended the day with a 0.9 percent increase from the previous close, as did the UK's FTSE 100 and France's CAC 40. Germany's DAX gained 0.7 percent. Shares in Rio Tinto helped lift the FTSE 100, while BNP Paribas rallied in relief to bolster the CAC 40. The French bank has reached a settlement with US authorities over past moves to dodge US financial sanctions against several countries including Sudan.

While manufacturing in the euro zone edged lower to 51.8 in June, down from 52.2 in May, it did at least expand for the 12th straight month, according to Markit Economics.

"Economic indicators still suggest everything is in place for a recovery," Dirk Thiels, head of investment management at KBC Asset Management, told Bloomberg News. "The data in Europe, although not spectacular, is holding steady above the expansion level, and the US looks like it's going in the right direction."

Still, Germany, the euro-zone's engine economy, is showing signs of weakness. Production growth was the lowest in nine months, while the country's unemployment unexpectedly rose for a second month.

"With manufacturing growing at the slowest rate for seven months in June, the PMI survey will raise concerns that the euro-zone recovery is losing momentum," said Chris Williamson, Markit's chief economist, in a statement. "There are encouraging signs of growth gathering

momentum in the region's periphery, especially in Spain and Ireland, and some of the slowdown in Germany may have been due to a high number of public holidays. But the overall picture is a reminder of just how fragile the region's recovery is looking."

Meanwhile, China showed the fastest pace of growth in manufacturing so far this year as its purchasing managers' index, as measured by National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, came in at 51.0 for June. HSBC's China manufacturing PMI rose to 50.7 in June, up from 49.4 in May.

"This confirms the trend of stronger demand and faster de-stocking," Hongbin Qu, chief economist, China & co-head of Asian economic research at HSBC, said in a statement. "The economy continues to show more signs of recovery, and this momentum will likely continue over the next few months, supported by stronger infrastructure investments."

(BusinessDesk)

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