U.S. stock markets have shrugged off yesterday's disappointing
ISM data, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500
Index running to fresh all-time highs in morning trade. Strong
factory orders and March auto sale figures were supporting the
ongoing bull rush in U.S. equities. There was also a strong showing
by European bourses, which reopened for the first time since
Thursday after a long holiday.
U.S. February factory orders, which were expected to rise 2.9%,
weighed in at a healthy 3%, after a 2% drop in January. Meanwhile,
auto sales, which were forecast to slow to a seasonally adjusted
annual rate of 15.3 million from 15.4 million in February according
to Edmunds, have revved up the morning session's dealings.
Both General Motors Co. (
) and Ford (
) have posted impressive March sales numbers. GM said that its
March sales results were the best in five years. GM sold 245,950
vehicles in the United States in March, up 6% compared with a year
ago. Retail sales increased 4%, fleet sales were up 12% and the
fleet mix was 27% of total sales. Despite the excellent numbers, GM
shares have edged lower, down 0.3% at $27.75.
Meanwhile, Ford shares motored almost 2% higher to $13.15 after
the company announced March auto sales increased 6%, its best sales
results since May 2007, with car sales even with year ago,
utilities up 14% and trucks up 6%. The company's newest lines of
vehicles, Fusion and Escape, set all-time monthly sales records.
Other auto makers are expected to report their sales figures later
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