July 3 - Summary of business headlines: Stocks gain as factory orders move along in May; Auto sales show surprise June acceleration; Oil prices surge on Iran jitters. Conway G. Gittens reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL Stocks sprint as the U.S. economy shows it still has a pulse. It's the third up day in a row, but volume was light, as investors head out early for the July 4th holiday. Factories were busier than expected in May, with new orders jumping more-than-expected, according to the Commerce Department. The report - scaling back slowdown fears set-off the day before when a private survey showed manufacturing activity shrank for the first time in almost 3 years. Domestic auto sales provide another reason to be hopeful. American car buying rebounded from a dismal May with June sales coming in ahead of forecasts, despite slumping consumer confidence. Lower interest rates and holiday discounts may have made deals too good to pass up, at least for now, says Jeremy Anwyl of Edmunds.com. SOUNDBITE: JEREMY ANWYL, VICE CHAIRMAN, EDMUNDS.COM (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think a lot of it is pent up demand but at the end of the day the economy is still growing and when you take a look at the overall numbers, the fundamentals for the economy haven't changed. I think what's got people concerned is really the outlook and that's the questions is: where is it all heading?" Oil was a hot commodity as supply fears resurface after threatening words from Iran. New York crude oil jumped almost $4 to more than $87 a barrel. Turning to Europe now: Bob Diamond is in the rough. The CEO of Barclays is out due to a rate-rigging scandal at Britain's No. 3 bank and faces a parliamentary probe on Wednesday. Investors await that drama, but in the meantime, stocks rallied on hopes more will be done to stop Europe's debt crisis. Conway Gittens, Reuters