Business

Dow Jones at four-year high, buoyed by manufacturing data

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Image caption The ISM said new orders, production and employment all rose in April

The Dow Jones index in New York has closed at its highest level for more than four years after data showed US manufacturing was stronger than expected in April.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of manufacturing activity rose to 54.8 last month from 53.4 in March.

A figure above 50 indicates expansion.

The Dow rose 66 points to finish the session at 13,279, its highest since 28 December 2007.

The index has been rising steadily since sinking below the 7,000 mark at the beginning of 2009, and broke back above 13,000 in February this year.

The Nasdaq and the Standard & Poor's 500 also closed higher on Tuesday.

'Back to the middle'

The ISM said new orders, production and employment in manufacturing all rose in April. Its measure of employment in the sector climbed to a nine-month high.

That will be seen as an encouraging sign ahead of Friday's monthly jobs report from the Labor Department.

It comes after several reports in recent weeks suggested the manufacturing sector and the overall economy could be slowing.

"The view on the economy has swung from optimism to pessimism of late and this could bring us back to the middle," said Nick Bennenbroek at Wells Fargo.

"ISM suggests there's no real reason to get too concerned about the path of the US economy at this point."

A separate report from the Commerce Department showed that construction spending in the US barely changed in March, edging up just 0.1% to an annual rate of $808.07bn.

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