March 16, 2012- Recently released economic data that was better than what was estimated, has helped the S&P 500 pass the 1,400 mark. The S&P topped 1,400 for the first time in nearly 48 months, as manufacturing data from the New York region increased unexpectedly and unemployment claims dropped.
The S&P 500 settled at 1,399.96 after topping the 1,400 plateau earlier in the day. The Dow Jones Average increased to 13,219.99 after its seventh consecutive day of gains. That streak is the Dow’s longest in over 13 months. IBM helped the Dow as it announced positive growth numbers.
Asset managers around the U.S. praised the U.S. economy as being much better than most thought. They say the corporate sector has maintained profits and valuations have remained reasonable.
The S&P 500 is now on pace to have its best three months to start a year since 1998. It has rallied over 11% since the start of 2012. Helping it on Thursday was data that showed manufacturing increased in March at the quickest rate since June of 2010. In addition, last week claims for unemployment benefits dropped to the lowest level in close to four years.
The higher than expected numbers in manufacturing and lower than expected unemployment claims are giving investors more confidence that the U.S. economy is back on track.