U.S. stocks advance amid factory orders data, Cyprus agreement

U.S. stocks rose, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index rebounding after yesterday’s decline, as orders placed with U.S. factories increased in February and Cyprus received easier bailout terms.

Humana Inc. jumped 6.4% as health-care providers rallied the most among 10 groups in the S&P 500, after medical insurers won an increase in a key Medicare payment rate. Hertz Global Holdings Inc. added 8.1% as it forecast earnings above analysts’ estimates. Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. plunged 11%, the most in the S&P 500, after agreeing to buy BGC Partners Inc.’s bond platform. Hewlett-Packard Co. fell 5.6% as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. advised selling the shares.

The S&P 500 rose 0.6% to 1,572.01 at 2:16 p.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 96.15 points, or 0.7%, to 14,669. Trading among S&P 500 shares was 6.7% below the 30-day average at this time of day.

“It’s an agonizingly slow economic recovery but it is a recovery,” Tom Mangan, who helps oversee about $4 billion as a money manager at James Investment Research Inc. in Xenia, Ohio, said in a phone interview. “The risk has so far not been that you are in the stock market, the risk is that you’re not in the stock market and that you don’t own enough stocks.”

U.S. stocks fell yesterday as a report showed American manufacturing expanded less than forecast, after the S&P 500 climbed to its highest closing level last week. It has yet to reach the all-time intraday high of 1,576.09. The gauge rallied 10% in the first quarter, extending a recovery that has added more than $10 trillion of value to the world’s largest stock market. The Dow first passed its 2007 record on March 5.

Factory Orders

U.S. factory orders rose in February, boosted by a pickup in demand for motor vehicles and commercial aircraft. The 3% gain in bookings, the biggest in five months, followed a revised 1% decline in January, a Commerce Department report showed. The median forecast of 64 economists in a Bloomberg survey called for a 2.9% rise.

In Europe, the Cypriot government completed talks on the terms for aid with the so-called troika of officials representing the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Union. Cyprus was granted two extra years, to 2018, to implement measures linked to its bailout, government spokesman Christos Stylianides told reporters. The accord will be discussed at a euro working group meeting of finance officials on April 4.

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