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US: Stocks extend gains on higher factory orders


[NEW YORK] Wall Street stocks rose Monday as news of the first rise in US factory orders in eight months helped sustain positive momentum from last week's rally.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 46.34 points (0.26 per cent) at 18,070.40.

The broad-based S&P 500 advanced 6.20 (0.29 per cent) to 2,114.49, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index rose 11.54 (0.23 per cent) to 5,016.93.

Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital, characterised the gains as "momentum buying" after the Commerce Department said new orders for manufactured goods rose 2.1 per cent in March, after seven straight months of declines.

US stocks traded in positive territory all day. The advance marked the second day in a row of gains after the S&P 500 added 1.09 per cent Friday.

Dow member McDonald's dropped 1.7 per cent after unveiling a turnaround plan that reorganizes its international businesses and sells off more company-owned restaurants to franchisees. Analysts said a turnaround of the company's sagging sales could take as much as two years.

Cisco Systems, another Dow member, advanced 0.1 per cent on news John Chambers would step down as chief executive and be replaced by Chuck Robbins, a longtime executive at the networking company. Chambers will remain chairman of the board and become executive chairman.

Dow component Disney tacked on 0.5 per cent after its superhero blockbuster film "Avengers: Age of Ultron" netted a staggering $187.7 million in opening-weekend box-office sales, close to the all-time record of $207.4 million set by an earlier "Avengers" movie.

Oil and gas producer Pioneer Natural Resources fell 1.9 per cent as money manager David Einhorn lambasted the company at an investor conference for spending excessively on fracking.

Time Warner Cable shares were back in play, gaining 1.2 per cent under rising expectations that Charter Communications is seeking a merger. On April 24 Comcast and Time Warner gave up their merger plan on the objections of antitrust regulators. Charter shares were unchanged.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury rose to 2.13 per cent from 2.11 per cent Friday, while the 30-year advanced to 2.87 per cent from 2.82 per cent. Bond yields and prices move inversely.