NEW YORK – The S&P 500 rose for a fourth straight day on Monday as upbeat Chinese factory data lifted sentiment, but concerns over budget dealings in Washington are expected to keep traders cautious.
China's economy picked up in November even as a broader global recovery remains fragile, with factory activity patchy elsewhere in Asia as demand from the developed world remains weak.
"The good news out of China is encouraging and that's adding to the risk trade this morning," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.
Markets have focused for weeks on negotiations in Washington over some $600 billion in spending cuts and tax hikes scheduled to kick in next year that could tip the U.S. economy back into recession.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner pushed Republicans on Sunday to offer specific ideas to cut the deficit and predicted that they would agree to raise tax rates on the rich to obtain a year-end deal to avoid the "fiscal cliff."
"Right now for both sides it's all about staying firm and determined to go to the very end," Cardillo said about the negotiations. "But we all know the stakes are high and (Congress) can't be that stupid as to induce another recession."
The Dow Jones industrial average rose 53.45 points, or 0.41 percent, to 13,079.03. The S&P 500 gained 6.79 points, or 0.48 percent, to 1,422.97. The Nasdaq Composite added 18.21 points, or 0.61 percent, to 3,028.45.
The S&P 500 on Friday closed its fifth positive month in six and is up 8 percent since the end of May.
The Institute for Supply Management releases its November manufacturing index at 10 a.m. (1500 GMT). Economists in a Reuters survey expect a reading of 51.3 for the main index versus 51.7 in October.
Also at 10 a.m., the Commerce Department releases October construction spending data. Economists forecast a rise of 0.5 percent compared with a 0.6 percent rise in September.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos, editing by Nick Zieminski)