The stock market gained ground today as a key U.S. manufacturing gauge showed continued improvement in production in April.
The U.S. manufacturing sector expanded at a slightly faster pace in April, according to the closely followed Institute of Supply Management (ISM) Index. The index climbed to 54.8 percent in April from 53.4 percent in March, the ISM said today.
Any reading over 50 indicates that more manufacturers are expanding instead of shrinking.
The new-orders index rose to 58.2 percent from 54.5 percent in March, while the employment index edged up to 57.3 percent from 56.1 percent.
Manufacturing activity in southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois also picked up slightly in April, according to the Marquette University Manufacturing ISM Report on Business.
The local seasonally adjusted Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) rose in April to 52.9 from 51.8 in March. The index reported gains in new orders, employment, inventories, prices, exports and imports. The index reported declines in production, customers’ inventories and backlogs of orders.
The stock market reacted favorably to the new numbers, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average gaining more than 115 points this morning, surging past 13,330 to its highest point of the calendar year. The largest local gainers in the BizTimes Stock Index were Rockwell Automation Inc. (up $1.33 to $78.67), Harley-Davidson Inc. (up $1.22 to $53.55) and Fiserv Inc. (up $1.08 to $71.37).