Stocks extended their gains in early afternoon trade after a sluggish start, despite lower-than-expected U.S. manufacturing data.
The Dow Jones industrial average led with a 0.5% advance, the S&P 500 was up 0.4% and the Nasdaq climbed 0.3%. Volume was tracking lighter across the board vs. the same time Friday.
The ISM manufacturing index eased to 50.8 in April, down from 51.8 in March and below economist forecasts for 51.5. But it remained positive for the second consecutive month; a reading above 50 indicates expansion.
Food, internet retail and steel stocks led the upside in the stock market today. Amazon.com (AMZN) added 3% in heavy trade. Shares are now extended from a 603.34 buy point and from an alternate handle entry of 638.11. The stock gapped up and soared 10% Friday, after its earnings report late Thursday crushed views. Nomura on Monday set a price target of 775, which represents about 15% upside from Amazon’s current level.
Goldman Sachs (GS) and McDonald’s (MCD) outperformed among blue chips, with respective gains of 1.6% and 1.3%. McDonald’s shares are in buy range from a 124.93 flat-base buy point cleared in late March. The fast-food giant has served up robust double-digit profit gains the past three quarters.
But Apple (AAPL), down 1% in above-average volume, was the biggest loser on the Dow. The stock is working on its eighth straight loss and has given up 11% since the iPad maker’s quarterly results disappointed late Tuesday and it reported a year-over-year iPhone sales decline for the first time. Apple is close to undercutting its late January low.
Solar, automakers and oil stocks lagged. West Texas intermediate crude slid more than 2% to $44.82 a barrel. Among oil stocks, Baker Hughes (BHI) reversed from a 5% early spike and sank 3% in massive volume. The oilfield service provider and Halliburton (HAL) called off their $28 billion merger amid antitrust concerns. Halliburton rose 2% in fast trade, on track for a fifth straight advance.
Tesla Motors (TSLA) pulled back 1% ahead of its Q1 earnings report due Wednesday after the close. Analysts expect a loss of 58 cents a share on a 45% sales jump to $1.60 billion. Shares have eased following a recent rally but are holding above their 10-week and 40-week lines.