Dow Soars to Four-Year Highs

May 2, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on May 1, in New York City. Following positive news of a rise in U.S. manufacturing activity, the Dow Jones industrial average rose almost 66 points, or 0.5 percent, to close at 13,279.40, the highest since December 2007. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK—The start of May was a boon for investors, as U.S. stocks jumped on manufacturing data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at its highest level in four years.

The Dow jumped 65 points, or 0.5 percent, to 13,279. The S&P 500 Index gained 0.6 percent, or 7.9 points, and the Nasdaq Composite Index showed a modest gain of 0.1 percent. Stocks jumped out to a gain after a lackluster April, which saw the S&P in the red by 0.75 percent.

The market was largely buoyed by the growth of U.S. manufacturing, as the Institute for Supply Management’s PMI index increased to 54.8 in April, a reading above expectations. Economists widely expected a contraction to 53. That reading is the highest reading since June 2011, and signals that U.S. manufacturers and producers are expanding at a rapid pace.

In addition, U.S. automakers reported April sales and the results were largely mixed. Chrysler Group led the way, with sales of 141,165 cars and trucks last month, which was a 20 percent increase compared with April 2011. But both Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. experienced declining sales of 5 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively.

Among other corporates, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Alcoa Inc. both saw their stocks gain by more than 2 percent. Of companies announcing quarterly profits, grains processor Archer Daniels Midland Co. gained 7.3 percent after earnings topped estimates. Anadarko Petroleum Corp. also reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings, sending its shares 3.4 percent higher, closing at $75.67 on May 1.

Restaurant chain P.F. Chang’s announced that it would be taken private by Centerbridge Partners, in a private equity deal valued at around $1.1 billion. Shares of P.F. Chang gained by 29.7 percent after the news, which was slightly lower than the 30 percent premium on the bid.