(By Balachander) U.S. stocks closed on a positive note after factory orders in May rebounded more sharply than forecast following two consecutive monthly declines and automakers posted strong monthly sales on solid demand.
S&P 500 Index rose 0.62 percent to finish at 1,374.02. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.56 percent to end at 12,943.82. The Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.84 percent to close at 2,976.08.
The Commerce Department reported that new orders for manufactured goods increased 0.7 percent in May, topping economists forecast of a 0.2 percent rise.
The U.S. markets will be shut for Independence Day holiday on Wednesday, while key jobs reports are due on Thursday and Friday.
Hot Stocks Of The Day: GM, F, MSFT, DUK, BBY, BCS, MODL, MW, CHTP
In corporate news, General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM) jumped 5.62 percent after the Detroit, Michigan-based auto giant reported a 16 percent jump in sales for the month of June, its highest sales since September 2008, spurred by double-digit gains from Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac. Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) posted a 7 percent rise in sales for June. Ford shares added 2.24 percent.
Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) said it is taking a $6.2 billion writedown related to its 2007 acquisition of Internet- advertising company AQuantive Inc. Shares inched higher.
Duke Energy Corp. (NYSE:DUK) completed its $17.8 billion takeover of Progress Energy Inc. Bill Johnson, who had been slated to be the chief executive officer of the combined company, has resigned by mutual agreement. Duke also completed a 1-for-3 stock split. Shares rose 204.64 percent to $70.92.
Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE:BBY) fell 1.94 percent amid reports of takeover talks. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Best Buy founder Richard Schulze is working with Wall Street bankers to explore taking the consumer electronics retailer private.
Barclays Plc (NYSE:BCS) retreated 2.14 percent after Chief Executive Bob Diamond resigned with immediate effect on Tuesday amid a market rigging probe.
Chelsea Therapeutics International Ltd. (NASDAQ:CHTP) tumbled 40.75 percent after the U.S. health regulators said data from the company's study to treat neurogenic orthostatic hypotension is unlikely to provide sufficient confirmatory evidence to support New Drug Application (NDA).
MModal Inc. (NASDAQ:MODL) jumped 8.43 percent after the provider of cloud-based clinical documentation services agreed to be sold to private-investment unit of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) for $14 per share or around $1.1 billion.
Men's Wearhouse (NYSE:MW) declined 2.90 percent after the apparel retailer announced the departure of its finance chief Neill Davis effective, August 2. Executive Vice President Diana Wilson will succeed Davis as interim chief financial officer.
European markets closed in green. Germany's DAX advanced 1.26 percent to close at 6,578.21. France's CAC40 added 0.96 percent to finish at 3,271.20. U.K.'s FTSE 100 advanced 0.83 percent to end at 5,687.73.
Among Asian markets, China's Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index rose 0.14 percent to close at 2,229.12. Japan's Nikkei 225 added 0.70 percent to end at 9,066.59. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index jumped 1.51 percent to end at 19,735.53. India's BSE Sensex finished at 17,425.71, down 0.18 percent.
Commodity & Currency Scan:
Crude oil futures jumped 4.11 percent to $87.190 per barrel and natural gas futures rose 1.13 percent to $2.856 per million metric British thermal units. Gold futures added 1.51 percent to $1,621.80 per ounce and silver futures surged 2.68 percent to $28.235 per ounce.
In the currency market, the euro rose 0.28 percent against the U.S. dollar to 1.2611. The British pound inched up 0.01 percent against the greenback to 1.5693, and the dollar advanced 0.43 percent against the Japanese yen to 79.8600.