The first trading day of the new month and quarter brought stocks to multi-year highs, as the Dow added 52 points, the Nasdaq added 28, and the S&P 500 tacked on 10. Stronger-than-expected manufacturing data was largely to thank.
Tuesday’s attention turns to Detroit with March auto sales trickling in throughout the day. But analysts are expecting the trickle to feel more like a downpour; it's expected that 14.5 million cars and trucks were sold on an annualized basis last month, up from 13.3 million at the same time last year.
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Why the increase? The perfect storm has formed for the U.S. auto industry. With the national average for gasoline at $3.92 and above $4 in many states, drivers are increasingly trading in the old clunker for a new, fuel-efficient model. The job market has also improved and access to credit is easier for many.
General Motors (NYSE:GM) said yesterday that it sold a record 100,000 cars that got at least 30 miles to the gallon last month. In fact, about 40% of GM’s March sales were of these gas sippers. But more confident consumers are also buying gas guzzlers, as 47% of March auto sales are expected to be SUVs and trucks, while 53% of sales will be from cars.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) got its first official $1,000 price target. Topeka Capital Markets says, "Apple fever is spreading like a wildfire around the world and we see no end in sight." Apple shares closed up 3% yesterday at $618.63.
Spirit Airlines no longer has the dubious distinction of being the only domestic carrier to charge for carry-on luggage. Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air will charge passengers $35 to carry on a bag starting Wednesday.
If you find yourself paying to check a bag, know that those fees brought in $898 million for the airlines at the end of last year, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. That was actually down from months’ prior, leaving some airlines disappointed. So, more checked-baggage fees may be on the way.