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Market Recap: Manufacturing Reports Boost Stocks

Markets closed up on Wall Street today:

  • Dow +1.47 percent
  • S&P +1.55 percent
  • Nasdaq +1.67 percent
  • Oil +4.27 percent
  • Gold +2.42 percent

On the commodities front:

  • Oil (NYSE:USO) climbed to $103.05 a barrel
  • Gold (NYSE:GLD) rising to $1,604.70 an ounce
  • Silver (NYSE:SLV) climbed 6.28 percent to settle at $29.62

(Related: FOMC Minutes: Fed to Publish Interest-Rate Forecasts)

Today’s markets were up because:

1) Manufacturing: Stocks climbed higher today — the first trading day of the New Year — on positive manufacturing reports on China, India, and the United States. An Institute of Supply Management report showed U.S. manufacturing activity, which accounts roughly 12 percent of the economy, grew in December at the fastest rate in six months.

Manufacturing growth figures in China and India came in better than expected over the weekend, which may signal a strengthening in the global economy, though concerns over a slowdown in Europe continue to weigh on the global outlook.

2) Europe: A new year doesn’t mean a blank slate as far as Europe is concerned, and markets will remain as vulnerable to concerns about the debt crisis in 2012 as they were in 2011. Europe has been the main driver of stock prices for several months, and today’s lack of any breaking economic policy developments, as well as a drop in Germany’s unemployment rate and the euro gaining ground on the dollar, allowed major markets in Europe, Asia, and the U.S. to climb higher.

3) Banks: Bank stocks led the Dow higher today, with Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan all posting strong gains after tumbling on Friday, the last trading day of 2011. In fact, Bank of America and Citigroup both closed today with their highest share price since early December, while JPMorgan had its highest close since October 28.

[Editor’s note: the above is a cross post that origianlyl appeared on Wall St. Cheat Sheet.]

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