The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 1, 2012

Stocks turn higher on better manufacturing report

From The Associated Press

NEW YORK — News that manufacturing had expanded at the fastest pace in 10 months gave stocks a lift in early trading Tuesday.

The Institute for Supply Management said its national manufacturing index rose to its highest level since last June. Orders, hiring and production were all higher.

A measure of employment rose to a nine-month high, an hopeful sign ahead of Friday’s monthly jobs report.

The manufacturing report lifted stocks. A half-hour after the opening bell, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 37 points to 13,251.

In a separate report, the Commerce Department said construction spending ticked up slighly in March, following two months of declines.

Other indexes pushed higher. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose seven points to 1,405. And the Nasdaq composite climbed 18 points at 3,064.

Major car companies are reporting monthly auto sales on Tuesday. Industry watchers expect overall sales to rise 2 percent for April compared with a year earlier.

The S&P finished April in the red, its first losing month since November. The Dow managed a small gain.

Among stocks making big moves:

— Chesapeake Energy Corp. jumped 6 percent on reports that the company will replace its chairman, Aubrey McClendon. McClendon, the company’s founder, was under fire for taking out more than $1 billion in loans using the company’s wells as collateral. Chesapeake recently agreed to end the program that allowed McClendon to take personal stakes in the wells. McClendon will stay on as CEO.

— Archer Daniels Midland Co. gained 5 percent after the food conglomerate reported profits that beat analysts’ expectations. Profits dropped by nearly a third over the past year, pulled down by one-time charges and lower weaker results from its ethanol and oilseeds businesses.

— Avon Products Inc. fell nearly 5 percent. The company said earnings plunged 82 percent, hurt by a bigger restructuring charge, commodity costs and rising labor costs. The results were worse than analysts had expected.