Wall Street gains on ISM data, Exxon earnings and Apple

 @ibtimes
on February 01 2010 3:32 PM

Stocks rose on Monday as better-than-expected data on the manufacturing sector and earnings from Exxon Mobil reassured investors that economic growth is on track, after stocks suffered their worst month in almost a year.

Apple Inc shares rose 0.8 percent to $193.62, buoying the Nasdaq. The semiconductor index <.SOXX> was up 2.6 percent, following an analyst's upgrade of the sector.

The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index showed the sector grew in January at a faster rate than expected. The ISM report followed strong manufacturing data from China, Australia and the euro zone.

Exxon's stock rose 2.8 percent to $66.26 after the largest U.S. oil company reported natural gas products boosted results at its exploration arm. The S&P energy sector index <.GSPE> gained 2.7 percent.

The S&P 500's 1.3 percent gain comes after three weeks of back-to-back losses.

The market is starting to focus more on profits, putting into perspective positive economic news like the ISM, while putting aside politics and bad earnings we saw in January, said Burt White, managing director and chief investment officer of LPL Financial in Boston.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> climbed 110.34 points, or 1.10 percent, to 10,177.67. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> gained 13.51 points, or 1.26 percent, to 1,087.38. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> rose 20.38 points, or 0.95 percent, to 2,167.73.

Shares of industrial materials companies gained on the strong global manufacturing data, with aluminum company Alcoa Inc up 4 percent at $13.24, and U.S. Steel Corp up 6.1 percent to $47.11. The Dow Jones industrials metals and mining index <.DJUSIM> rose 5.5 percent.

In the tech sector, shares of cellphone chip maker Qualcomm gained 1.6 percent to $39.85 and also helped give the Nasdaq one of its biggest boosts, while International Business Machines Corp rose 1.9 percent to $124.72 on the NYSE and ranked among the Dow's major advancers.

In January's pullback, the materials and technology sectors were the biggest losers.

But the Nasdaq's advance was curbed by Amazon Inc , whose shares fell 5.9 percent to $118.02 after the online retailer all but waved the white flag in a dispute with publisher Macmillan that could lead raising prices on some of its e-books.

Warner Chilcott shares fell 7.1 percent to $25.41 and also dragged on the Nasdaq after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to equal weight from overweight.

(Reporting by Angela Moon; Editing by Jan Paschal)

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