Wall Street was buoyed by data showing the strongest rate of manufacturing growth in two years during February. A bigger than expected rise in consumer confidence last month provided additional support for stocks.
The news wasn’t all good, however, with $85 billion in automatic budget cuts coming to effect on March 1 and US lawmakers still no closer to easing the threat the cuts pose to the US economy.
The Dow rose 36 points (+0.3%) to 14090, the S&P500 climbed 0.2% and the Nasdaq put on 0.3%. There was mostly red in commodity markets, with the CRB index sliding 0.9% to 290.4.
Oil was a big decliner on concern Friday’s poor Chinese manufacturing data is a sign energy demand will falter in the world’s second largest economy. Crude futures slumped 1.5% to US$90.68 a barrel.
In currency markets, the euro weakened 0.4% against the US dollar amid data showing eurozone unemployment rising to an all-time high in January.
On the economic front, building approvals, the ANZ job ads survey and company operating profits data are all due for release at 11:30am, AEDT.