What do you do after ending seven straight months of gains? You start the next month off in style and set a record. That is what happened today in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) ; after closing out April down 0.38%, the Dow rallied and hit its highest level since December 2007, before closing up 0.50% on the day.
With the majority of European and a handful of Asian Markers closed today for May Day holiday, the macroeconomic situation in the U.S. was the center of attention. After receiving preliminary reports of slowing manufacturing numbers, the ISM reported April's manufacturing growth and the index rose to 54.8%, compared to 53.4% a month earlier. The figure reported was higher than expected, giving a sense that the economy still contains some steam to keep forging ahead. The ISM numbers help the S&P 500 which closed up 0.57%, buoyed by the energy sector.
A Dow component that benefited from the manufacturing report was Alcoa (NYSE: AA ) , up 2.47% on the day. Alcoa has seen a pretty decent bump since reporting earnings last month, up 4.4%, and today basked in the overflow of exuberance caused by the manufacturing numbers.
Outside of Alcoa, technology manufacturers shared in the rally. Intel (Nasdaq; INTC) and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) were busy today, closing up 1.95% and 1.66%, respectively, and appreciating their share prices on the same news.
Outside of the Dow, Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK ) , a company shrouded in negative press the past few weeks, finished the day up 6.29% after its CEO Aubrey McClendon decided to step down from his other role as chairman. However, the good news did not last long -- Chesapeake announced earnings after the market closed and after-hours trading brought the stock back down 6%.
The foolish takeaway
At the end of the day, the markets were greatly influenced by the good news coming from U.S. manufacturing sectors. Tomorrow, before we kickoff another day with the news revolving around debt issues in Europe or continued growth in China, it is important to stay attuned to economic issues in the United States. With that in mind, I would like to recommend a link that details three U.S companies that are well positioned to be key players in the world's arena. This free report will give you three well known companies that have balance sheets set to dominate emerging markets.