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U.S. Stocks Climb to Record as ISM Corrects Factory Data

By Joseph Ciolli
June 02, 2014 4:57 PM EDT 72 Comments

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rose to a record, after erasing an early loss, as the Institute for Supply Management twice corrected the reading in its May manufacturing index.

Broadcom Corp. rose 9.3 percent after saying it will explore options for its cellular baseband business. American Realty Capital Healthcare Trust Inc. jumped 9.7 percent after Ventas Inc. agreed to buy it. The Dow Jones Internet Composite Index slid 0.6 percent, with Groupon Inc. and LinkedIn Corp. dropping more than 2.9 percent to pace declines.

The S&P 500 (SPX) rose 0.1 percent to 1,924.97 at 4 p.m. in New York, reversing an earlier loss of as much as 0.4 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 26.46 points, or 0.2 percent, to 16,743.63, also reaching an all-time high. The Russell 2000 Index of smaller companies fell 0.5 percent.

“The correction improved market direction modestly,” Stephen Carl, principal and head equity trader at New York-based Williams Capital Group LP, said in a phone interview. “Going forward, you’re looking for expected improvement in the ISM number, so maybe this just adds to it. Overall, it wasn’t a big, meaningful change, but there was certainly a reaction in the market.”

The ISM originally said its May manufacturing index fell to 53.2 from 54.9 a month earlier, before correcting it twice, once to 56 and a second time to 55.4. Fifty is the dividing line between growth and contraction. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a gain to 55.5.

The ISM corrected the index more than two hours after its initial 10 a.m. release, saying that it had applied the wrong seasonal adjustment to the data.

Global Data

Other factory reports from around the world were mixed. Manufacturing in the euro area grew at a slower pace amid weakness in France. Manufacturing in China expanded in May at the fastest pace in five months.

Forecasts for a rebound in U.S. growth in the second quarter and stimulus from central banks in Japan and Europe, along with higher-than-estimated corporate earnings, helped send the value of global shares to a record $64 trillion in May.

The S&P 500 ended the month at a record after shrugging off a report showing the U.S. economy contracted for the first time in three years during the first quarter. Federal Reserve policy makers said at their April meeting that the economy has strengthened after adverse weather took its toll. Central-bank stimulus has helped propel the S&P 500 higher by as much as 184 percent from its bear-market low in March 2009.

Economic data later this week include reports on U.S. factory orders and car sales, as well as the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly payrolls report on June 6.

The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index rose 1.6 percent today to 11.58. The gauge of U.S. equity volatility known as the VIX (VIX) dropped to 11.36 on May 23, its lowest level since March 2013.

ECB Stimulus

Investors also will be looking to Europe this week as Mario Draghi confronts the threat of deflation, preparing to unleash an array of measures to jolt the economy and ignite prices. From negative interest rates to conditional liquidity for banks, the European Central Bank president and his colleagues have signaled all options are up for discussion when they meet on June 5.

Of 50 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, 44 expect the ECB to become the first major central bank to take interest rates into negative territory by cutting its deposit rate. All but 2 of 58 respondents said the benchmark rate would also be reduced.

Grinding Higher

ISM’s corrected number was “probably good enough to keep intact the slow grinding higher, but data later this week from the ECB and BLS will trump all other releases,” Ryan Larson, the Chicago-based head of U.S. equity trading at RBC Global Asset Management (U.S.) Inc., said in an interview.

The S&P 500 has rebounded 6 percent since a selloff in small-cap and Internet shares spread to the broader market and dragged the gauge to a two-month low in April. It advanced 2.1 percent in May for a fourth straight monthly increase. The measure trades at 16.3 times the projected earnings of its members, up from 14.8 times four months ago.

Today’s decline in the Dow Jones Internet gauge was paced by a 6.5 percent fall in Groupon and a 2.9 percent slide for LinkedIn as technology shares had the third-largest drop among 10 main industries in the S&P 500. Twitter Inc. lost 2.1 percent.

ARC Healthcare rallied 9.7 percent to $10.91 after Ventas said it will pay $2.6 billion in cash and stock to expand its elderly-housing business and add medical-office buildings. Ventas slid 2.8 percent to $64.93 for the second-biggest decline in the S&P 500.

Baseband Chips

Broadcom climbed 9.3 percent to $34.84. The maker of communications chips has hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. to assist in exploring options. Baseband chips are used to connect phones to cellular networks, a business dominated by Qualcomm Inc.

Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc. jumped 7.4 percent to $6.94 after saying a trial showed its Iclusig drug was effective against gastrointestinal tumors in some patients. The Food and Drug Administration lifted a ban on the enrollment of new patients for the trial, Ariad said.

Protective Life Corp. surged 12 percent to $58.51. Dai-Ichi Life Insurance Co. (8750), Japan’s second-largest life insurer, is in talks to buy Protective Life for about 500 billion yen ($4.9 billion), said people with knowledge of the matter. Dai-Ichi Life said it’s considering buying a U.S. insurer and ways to fund the acquisition including a public offering of shares, adding that no decision has been made.

MeadWestvaco Corp. increased 5.9 percent to $42.96. Starboard Value LP, the activist fund led by Chief Executive Officer Jeff Smith, amassed a stake of about 5.6 percent in MeadWestvaco, urging the packaging company to cut costs and boost profits.

Express Scripts

Express Scripts Holding Co. slid 2 percent to $70.04. The St. Louis-based pharmacy benefit manager, which handles more than 1 billion prescriptions a year, was downgraded to market perform from outperform at Cowen & Co.

Frontier Communications Corp. decreased 1.2 percent to $5.72. The broadband and telecommunications company entered into a new $350 million senior unsecured delayed draw term loan facility and a $750 million revolving credit facility.

Apple Inc. fell 0.7 percent to $628.65. The company introduced new health and messaging features for the software powering the iPhone and iPad, laying the groundwork for a busy second half of the year as the company works to emerge from a stretch of slowing growth. The shares have rallied 12 percent this year.

Low Volume

About 4.9 billion shares changed hands today on U.S. exchanges, 23 percent below the three-month average. About 1.8 billion shares traded each day in S&P 500 companies last month, the fewest since 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. When the gauge hit an all-time high on May 23, only about 20 of its 500 companies reached 52-week highs, the data show. That’s the lowest number in a year.

When volume and breadth wane even as stocks surge, it’s a warning sign that has preceded losses in the past, according to Sundial Capital Research Inc. in Blaine, Minnesota. Hayes Miller, who helps oversee $57 billion at Baring Asset Management Inc., says the skepticism shows investors distrust a rally built on Fed stimulus.

“Breadth is suggesting that the market is topping,” Miller, the Boston-based head of multi-asset allocation for Baring, said in a May 28 telephone interview. “This is not a good starting point for buying equities at this price. We all know that investors are induced into risk assets by central bank policies, which keep your safer options very unattractive.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Joseph Ciolli in New York at jciolli@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Lynn Thomasson at lthomasson@bloomberg.net Jeff Sutherland

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