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The broad S&P 500 rallied to a fresh all-time high on Tuesday on the back of strong factory data and sales by major automakers.
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As of 3:10 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 60.3 points, or 0.37%, to 16519, the S&P 500 advanced 9.5 points, or 0.51%, to 1882 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 55.5 points, or 1.3%, to 4255.
The S&P 500 posted its fifth-straight quarterly advance on Monday. The gains this year have been tepid, though, with the broad-market index only climbing 1.3%.
Traders were greeted with a slew of global manufacturing data on the day.
U.S. manufacturing activity picked up slightly in March, with the Institute for Supply Management’s PMI gauge rising to 53.7 from 53.2 the month prior. Wall Street was looking for the gauge to rise to 54. Readings above 50 indicate expansion, while those below point to contraction.
Economists said the economy is still recovering from its winter doldrums, when worse-than-usual weather swept across the country.
China's official factory gauge edged up very slightly in March from the month before. Still, a private survey still came in contraction territory. Another report showed the eurozone's factory sector grew in March from the month prior as the 18-member currency bloc's economy continues recovering. Activity in Germany and France -- the bloc's two biggest economies -- topped expectations.
Analysts at Barclays called the global data "robust," a welcome change from the choppiness seen in recent months.
In corporate news, a Senate panel alleged Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) dodged $2.4 billion in taxes between 2000 and 2012, although the world's biggest heavy machinery giant stands by its accounting. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) suppliers are working on building screens for the not-yet-announced iPhone 6, according to a report from Reuters.
Monthly sales figures from the Big Three U.S. automakers are due out on the day. Ford (NYSE:F) said its U.S. March sales climbed 3% to the highest mark in eight years. Meanwhile, Fiat's (NYSE:FIATY) Chrysler revealed a 13% jump in sales. General Motors (NYSE:GM) said a computer issue would delay its results.
GM CEO Mary Barra is set to testify before Congress over the ignition-switch scandal that hit the No. 1 U.S. automaker.
Elsewhere, U.S. crude oil futures fell 28 cents, or 0.28%, to $101.30 a barrel. Wholesale New York Harbor gasoline dipped 0.9% to $2.911 a gallon. Gold rose $1.50, or 0.12%, to $1,285 a troy ounce.