U.S. Sees Glimmer of Hope as Slowdown Goes Global

On a day that European manufacturing began to contract and business confidence fell in Japan, global financial markets got a hopeful sign from the most unlikely of places: U.S. manufacturing and General Motors (NYSE: GM).

An unexpected uptick in U.S. manufacturing last month and a drop in auto sales that wasn’t as bad as feared pulled U.S. stocks out of a 1.5% tailspin and helped the major indexes start the third quarter in the green.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) led tech stocks higher on bullish comments from Lehman Brothers, which said an AT&T (NYSE: T) pricing plan suggests that Apple may be getting more money per iPhone than previously thought. Apple shares gained 4.3% to $174.68. Research in Motion was another big winner, up 5.5%.

Lam Research (NASDAQ: LRCX) climbed nearly 5% on a Credit Suisse upgrade, and Novellus (NASDAQ: NVLS) benefited from a positive mention too.

SanDisk (NASDAQ: SNDK) fell 5.8% after a Pacific Crest analyst lowered estimates on the company.

At its low, Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO) came within 41 cents of the $19.18 share price on Jan. 31, before Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) failed takeover bid became public. Yahoo shares ended the day at $20.20, off 2.2%.

The Nasdaq rose 12 to 2304, the S&P tacked on 5 to 1289, and the Dow rose 32 to 11,382. Volume rose to 5.85 billion shares on the NYSE, and 2.65 billion on the Nasdaq. Decliners led by a 20-14 margin on the NYSE, and 17-12 on the Nasdaq. Upside volume was 51% on the NYSE, and 56% on the Nasdaq. New highs-new lows were 41-626 on the NYSE, and 37-528 on the Nasdaq.

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