U.S. stocks rose sending the S&P 500 to its sixth advance in seven sessions, after favorable corporate earnings reports and positive signs from China.
The S&P 500 index gained 5.69 points, or 0.3%, to 1752.07. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 95.88 points, or 0.6%, to close at 15509.21 while the Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 21.89 points, or 0.6%, to 3928.96.
U.S. stocks followed global markets higher after Chinese manufacturing data suggested the worlds second-largest economy will reach the governments 7.5% growth target for the year. Investors showed optimism about the U.S. stock market after lawmakers prevented a U.S. debt crisis earlier this month and as concerns that the Federal Reserve will start to cut back its stimulus bond-purchases this year disappear.
“Weve been able to sidestep every land mine and find solutions, even if they come at the last minute,” said Jay Wong, co-portfolio manager at Los Angeles-based Payden & Rygel, which oversees about $85 billion. “The market continues to be supported by growth, and an ability to dodge every bullet that comes along,” he said.
In U.S. economic news, the number of people seeking first-time jobless benefits fell last week, but came in higher than economists expected. Initial claims for jobless benefits declined by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 350,000 last week.
U.S. trade balance was almost unchanged in August, reflecting a slow-growing global economy and tepid demand from American consumers.
In corporate news, Apple gained after activist investor Carl Icahn boosted his investment in the stock and continued to push the company for a $150 billion stock buyback in a letter sent to Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook. Mr. Icahn owns a stake of about 0.5% in Apple.
Ford Motor jumped 1.3% after beating third-quarter earnings and revenue expectations and raising its profit and margin forecasts. The auto maker also lifted its projections for sales in China.
Telecommunications stocks were the worst performers after AT&Ts third-quarter earnings increased just above estimates, while revenue rose in line with forecasts.