Wall St boosted by strong output data

US stocks rose for a third straight day yesterday as investors viewed company results and manufacturing data as evidence the economic rebound will continue.

Investors accentuated the positive news, focusing on improved mid-Atlantic manufacturing data and setting aside a lackluster outlook from Wal-Mart and a surprising increase in weekly jobless claims.

“News on the economy was mixed,” said Jim Awad, managing director at Zephyr Management New York . “There’s a tug of war, with a slight upward bias based on a moderate cyclical recovery on the economy.”

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 83.66 points, or 0.81 per cent, to 10,392.90. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 7.24 points, or 0.66 per cent, to 1,106.75. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 15.42 points, or 0.69 per cent, to 2,241.71.

Government reports showing higher-than-expected weekly applications for jobless insurance and higher producer prices in January were more than offset by data showing gains in the Philadelphia Fed’s business activity index and a 10th straight monthly rise in the Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators.

Wal-Mart held down gains after the world’s largest retailer forecast results for the current quarter that could miss Wall Street’s estimates, hinting at caution among consumers. Shares fell 1.1 per cent.

Hewlett-Packard stock rose and a number of brokerages raised their price targets for the technology company a day after it raised its outlook and posted a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit.

HP shares gained 1.4 per cent to $50.81 on the New York Stock Exchange, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq rose for a fifth consecutive session.

Shares of natural resources companies, including miners, were among the biggest gainers, followed by major manufacturers. The S&P materials index jumped 1.2 percent. Aircraft maker Boeing Co rose 1.7 per cent to $62.89.

Cliffs Natural Resources shares jumped 7.4 percent to $50.90 a day after the iron ore and coal producer's quarterly earnings easily beat Wall Street estimates.