Tuesday’s Mid-Day Movers: 3 Stories Driving Markets

The U.S. equity markets hit the ground running on Tuesday and maintained its momentum heading through the afternoon.

At 12:30 p.m.: DJIA: +0.67%, S&P 500: +0.68%, NASDAQ: +0.81%.

S&P 500 Index Chart - Yahoo! Finance

Here are three stories helping shape markets on Tuesday afternoon:

1) While orders for new factory goods rose in February, the gauge of planned business spending dropped, providing an indication that factory activity is rebounding at only a moderate pace.

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Markets have been flush with generally positive economic news in recent weeks. Despite two consecutive reports of initial jobless claims increasing at the end of March, the housing and labor markets are showing evidence of recovery — a trend which stands in contrast to fears that were circulated in the wake of the fiscal cliff and sequester crises. Factory orders have fluctuated in the past several months, but February’s data fits with the current trend… (Read more.)

2) Unemployment in the 27-member European Union increased from 10.8 percent in January to 10.9 percent in February, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. In the 17-member euro area, the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 12.0 percent, a dramatic increase from 10.9 percent in the year-ago period.

Compounding Europe’s struggling labor market is the Markit Eurozone Manufacturing PMI report for March, which was also released on Tuesday morning. The report’s index of overall business conditions decreased from 47.9 in February to 46.8 in March, a three-month low… (Read more.)

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3) Throughout March, abnormally cold weather — rather than tough economic headwinds — kept consumer spending lower than it was last year. However, with Easter falling on the last day of the month, both the International Council of Shopping Centers and Goldman Sachs Retail Chain Store Sales Index and Redbook’s weekly measure of sales at chain stores, discounters, and department stores showed hefty gains as Americans prepared for the holiday… (Read more.)

Don’t Miss: How Weak is Manufacturing in the Euro Zone?