Manufacturing Data and iWatch Rumors Pull Stocks Higher

Manufacturing Data and iWatch Rumors Pull Stocks Higher

Optimism is in the air on the first day of July and the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 have marched 0.76% and 0.83% higher, respectively. The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing gauge rose from 49% in May to 50.9% last month, giving hope to investors that the second half of the year will be better for manufacturers. A reading above 50% indicates expansion so crossing that level was key today.

On the Dow, General Electric helped pull the index higher by gaining 1.1%. The company officially closed on its $3.3 billion acquisition of Lufkin Industries, a supplier to the oil and gas industry. GE has been spending heavily to expand in the oil and gas market, trying to profit from the expansion in new drilling techniques worldwide.

Intel is actually the Dow's biggest loser after falling 1.1% today. There wasn't any bad news released, and new CEO Brian Krzanich said in an interview on Friday that the company will make an even more concerted effort to grow into mobile and wearable devices like glasses and watches. Intel has already made inroads into tablets by winning the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3; if it can get out ahead in the wearable market it could fuel the company's growth.

Speaking of wearable products, Apple jumped 3.8% today on word that the company has filed for an "iWatch" trademark in Japan. The company also got an upgrade from Raymond James analyst Travis McCourt, who predicts a new product cycle in the second half of the year that will include more mobile products. I, for one, think shares of Apple are cheap whether or not there's an iWatch coming, but the stock won't likely get a major boost until some product is released that will provide a catalyst. At the very least, millions of investors will be awaiting whatever Apple has up its sleeve next.

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