Stocks Climb on Construction Spending

NEW YORK (AP) -- U.S. stocks are rising Tuesday morning after the government reported that construction spending reached its highest level in eight years in January, a sign of strength for the economy. Tech stocks made the biggest gains. Banks, the worst-performing sector on the market this year, recovered some of their losses.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average rose 209 points, or 1.3 percent, to 16,725 as of 11:20 a.m. Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index jumped 27 points, or 1.4 percent, to 1,959. The Nasdaq composite climbed 78 points, or 1.7 percent, to 4,636.

IF YOU BUILD IT: The Commerce Department said construction spending rose 1.5 percent in January as spending on nonresidential buildings and government projects improved. That was the largest gain in eight months and took spending on construction to its highest level in eight years.

That's a good sign for the health of the U.S. economy, and investors bought big-name tech stocks. Apple gained $2.20, or 2.3 percent, to $98.89, while Alphabet, the parent of Google, rose $17.03, or 2.4 percent, to $734.25. Facebook stock added $2.34, or 2.2 percent, to $109.26.

After the report came out, U.S. government bond prices fell and the yield on the 10-year Treasury note climbed to 1.81 percent from 1.74 percent. Bonds were little changed before the report was released at 10 a.m. Eastern time.

EARNINGS: Hertz climbed after the company said it cut costs and improved the management of its rental fleet. The stock, which has been trading at its lowest since 2009, jumped $1.04, or 12.2 percent, to $9.54.

Kate Spade gained 99 cents, or 5 percent, to $20.81 after the clothing, handbag and accessories maker gave a strong profit forecast for 2016. Human resources software company Workday reported a smaller loss and better-than-expected sales. The stock rose $4.94, or 8.2 percent, to $65.39.

Medical device maker Medtronic gave up $3.88, or 5 percent, to $73.51 after its sales fell short of analysts' projections.

AUTO SALES: Automakers began reporting their monthly sales. Ford climbed 52 cents, or 5.2 percent, to $13.03 after its sales rose almost 20 percent, a better gain than analysts expected. Overall, experts think sales will grow about 8 percent from last February, to about 1.36 million.

Auto parts supplier BorgWarner rose $1.77, or 5.4 percent, to $34.45, and navigation device maker Garmin, which added $1.40, or 3.5 percent, to $41.91.

BANKS: Bank of America picked up 42 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $12.94 and JPMorgan Chase gained $1.63, or 2.9 percent, to $57.93, leading financial stocks higher. The S&P 500's financial index has slumped almost 11 percent this year, far worse than any other industry, as investors concluded that U.S. interest rates will stay lower for longer than they had previously expected.

WALKING AWAY: Industrial conglomerate Honeywell said it's giving up on its effort to buy rival United Technologies. It said the company wasn't willing to negotiate a deal. Honeywell had offered to buy United Technologies for $108 per share, or about $90 billion.

United Technologies, which was one of the best Dow performers in February, slumped $3.05, or 3.2 percent, to $93.57. Honeywell rebounded $3.14, or 3.1 percent, to $104.49.

OVERSEAS: Global stocks rose after China's move to support bank lending helped offset concern over a drop in manufacturing in the world's second-largest economy. Germany's DAX climbed 2 percent and France's CAC-40 added 0.9 percent. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.8 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 1.6 percent. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 added 0.4 percent.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude dipped 3 cents to $33.71 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, lost 37 cents to $36.20 a barrel in London. Natural gas, which closed at a 17-year low on Monday, remained at $1.71 per 1,000 cubic feet.

CURRENCIES: The euro fell to $1.0844 from $1.0884 late Monday and the dollar rose to 113.69 yen from 112.82 yen.

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