All it took was just a little bit of good news, and a new quarter got off to a rousing start.
The Institute of Supply Management’s manufacturing index came in at 51.5 for September, up from 49.6 in August and above economists’ estimated 49.7 figure. The figure marked the first expansion in U.S. manufacturing in four months, and sent markets jumping on the news to reverse Friday’s losses.
But just when euphoria was about to set in, Federal Chairman Ben Bernanke said the economy “simply has not been growing fast enough recently to make significant progress in bringing down unemployment” and warned Congress to address the “fiscal cliff.”
That didn’t club the markets, but it checked its momentum. The Dow gained 0.58% to close at 13,515, the S&P rose 0.26% to end at 1,444, and the Nasdaq finished down fractionally at 3,113.
In the news, shares of ceramics firm Ceradyne (NASDAQ:CRDN) soared 43% after 3M (NYSE:MMM) announced it would buy the company for $860 million. The deal should add about 5 cents per share in the first year of the transaction for 3M, which finished up just less than 1% on the day.
Mining giant Xstrata‘s (PINK:XSRAF) board of directors said it was backing a revised offer from Glencore (PINK:GLCNF) for $33 billion after a long period in which the merger was first proposed in February, but had been delayed by shareholder objections. The deal still is subject to a shareholder vote. Xstrata finished ahead 2.5% on the day.
Nokia (NYSE:NOK) shares gained just under 8% on news that it signed a mapping service deal with Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL). The deal will make it easier for Oracle users to include Nokia’s map data into their business applications. ORCL shares were up fractionally.
Finally, surging, soaring Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) ended the day up fractionally, but combined with a fractional loss at Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) saw its market cap surpass MSFT and settle in as the No. 2 tech company in market value behind Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). GOOG shares have gained almost 18% year-to-date.
- Herbalife (NYSE:HLF): Up 5.9% ($2.81) to $50.21.
- TW Telecom (NASDAQ:TWTC): Up 5.1% ($1.32) to $27.41.
- Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM): Up 4.8% (36 cents) to $7.86. (Read more)
- Threshold Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:THLD): Down 12.25% (89 cents) to $6.35.
- Sprint (NYSE:S): Down 6.2% (34 cents) to $5.18.
- Pentair (NYSE:PNR): Down 4.6% ($2.03) to $42.48.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he was long AAPL and MSFT.