Stocks rose on Thursday as positive jobs and manufacturing data fueled optimism that a sustained recovery was on track, prompting investors to snap up riskier assets like equities and commodities.
U.S. manufacturing activity in March rose to its highest level in five years, the Institute for Supply Management said, while jobless claims fell more than expected for the week.
Manufacturing has been the source of improvement all through the U.S. recovery over the past year, and as seen with the overseas data earlier today, the improvement is global, said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak + Co in New York.
The ISM measures the direction of change, not the degree, but the recovery in this sector is clear for now.
The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was up 65.45 points, or 0.60 percent, at 10,922.08. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained 8.45 points, or 0.72 percent, at 1,177.88. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 11.41 points, or 0.48 percent, at 2,409.37.
The data came one day before the government's key nonfarm payrolls report, and with the stock market closed for the Good Friday holiday, investors used Thursday's indicators to help make bets at the start of the new quarter.
China's vast manufacturing sector saw March orders climb, according to two business surveys, pointing to brisk first-quarter GDP growth, while factory activity in the euro zone grew last month at its fastest pace in over three years.
In company news, shares of Research in Motion Ltd
Micron Technology Inc
With oil futures up 1.1 percent, energy and commodity stocks led gains. The S&P energy index <.GSPE> rose 1.4 percent, and S&P materials index <.GSPM> advanced 1.7 percent, the top performing sectors.
(Reporting by Angela Moon; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)