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Market Update

S&P 500 index at New Intra-day High, U.S. Auto Sales Advance

Author: Nichole Harper
Last Update: 1:06 PM ET April 01 2014

12:45 PM New York – Market indexes in New York traded higher and private manufacturing index showed a slight expansion. Auto sales rebounded slightly in March after struggling for two months on harsh weather conditions. Intuitive Surgical gained on FDA approval.

Market indexes on Wall Street gained and the S&P 500 index rose to a new intra-day record.

Market indexes advanced after a private survey of U.S. manufacturing showed a slight increase.

The purchasing managers index for March increased to 53.7 from 53.2 in February. Construction spending increased 0.1% from the previous month.

S&P 500 index increased 0.4% to 1,879.35 and the Nasdaq Composite Index gained 1.06% to 4,243.87.

U.S. auto sales increased in March after struggling for the first two months in the year on harsh weather.

Ford sales increased 3%, Toyota Motor sales gained 5% and Chrysler Group sales rose 13% in the month. General Motors is set to report the monthly data later in the day.

Nissan sales increased 8% and Volkswagen AG sales declined 3%.

European Markets

In London trading, FTSE 100 index gained 0.8% or 52.34 to 6,650.71 and in Frankfurt the DAX index increased 0.8% or 72.36 to 9,628.27.

In Paris, CAC 40 index jumped 1% or 46.27 to 4,437.77

BHP Billiton Plc, the Anglo-Australian resource company climbed 2.6% to 1,892.50 pence after the mining giant said in a statement it intends to spin off its non-core businesses including aluminum, nickel and bauxite assets in a separate company worth $20 billion to shareholders.

The company also stressed in the statement that it plans to focus on four segments including copper, coal, iron ore and petroleum resources to “improve productive performance of largest businesses.” The company is likely to increase its focus on potash assets as well.

U.S. Stocks in Review

Chrysler Group LLC, the automaker said March U.S. sales climbed 13% to 171,606 units, the group’s best March sales since 2007. FIAT brand sales were up 24% to 4,738 units but Chrysler brand sales declined 23% to 26,140 units.

Ford Motor Company (F) climbed 3.1% or 49 cents to $16.09 after the vehicle company reported March U.S. sales increase 3% to 244,167 units and retail sales rose 3% to 166,030 units.

Fusion posted record sales climbed 9% to 32,963 units, all-time monthly record since the launch in 2005.

The automaker separately said Ford India’s domestic sales in March surged 21% to 6,356 units.

General Motors Company (GM) gained 1.2% or 41 cents to $34.83 and the automaker expects to report its sales this afternoon before the close of business due to a computer systems issue.

The automaker yesterday announced a new recall of 1.5 million vehicles to fix the problems with the power steering system. GM also doubled the charges linked to the recall to $750 million.

Gencorp Inc (GY) rose 3 cents to $18.30 after the aircraft parts maker stated net sales in the first-quarter ending in February soared to surged 35.3% to $329.7 million.

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Sources: Data collected by 123jump.com and Ticker.com from company press releases, filings and corporate websites. Market data: BATS Exchange. Inc