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Economy gets jolt from auto sales and manufacturing

The economy got some good news Tuesday.

Auto sales in June held their own for another month, and American factories received some of their strongest orders in years

The uptick suggests that the 2.9 percent drop in GDP in the first three months of year was an aberration, not the start of another recession.

The next test comes Thursday, when the government releases the U.S. jobs report for June.

Autos sales: June beats forecasts

June auto sales beat expectations with Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and Hyundai all posting healthy gains compared with the same month a year earlier. General Motors had a small increase, but Ford's sales declined. Automakers are on pace to sell about 16.2 million vehicles in the United States this year, which would be the biggest sales volume since 2006.

For more on auto sales, see Business, 4B.

Manufacturing: Demand grows

The world's two biggest economies notched solid scores in manufacturing last month. China's sector grew for the first time in six months. The United States had its 13th straight month of expansion.

U.S. producers of wood products, furniture, metals and machinery were among those seeing a pickup in demand. Growing consumer spending, lean inventories and improving overseas markets will probably keep assembly lines busy in the second half of the year, experts said.

Stock market: New records hit

The auto sales and manufacturing news helped push the Dow and the S&P 500 to new records Tuesday. The Dow gained more than 129 points to close at 16,956, its 12th record close of the year. The S&P climbed 13 points to finish at 1,973.

"After a terrible first quarter, we are seeing a rebound in housing, manufacturing," Marc Doss, regional chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank, told the Wall Street Journal. "The economy is growing but slowly enough for the Fed to keep rates low for a while. This environment is very favorable for equities."

Economy gets jolt from auto sales and manufacturing 07/01/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 1, 2014 11:02pm]
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