Dow, S&P 500 close at new records to open third quarter

New York (AFP) - Wall Street stocks Tuesday barreled higher to new records, opening the third quarter with big gains following strong US auto sales and Chinese manufacturing data.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 129.47 points (0.77 percent) to 16,956.07, while the S&P 500 shot up 13.09 (0.67 percent) to 1,973.32; both were new records.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index bolted 50.47 (1.14 percent) higher to 4,458.65.

Analysts said the market was spurred by data that showed Chinese manufacturing activity expanded in June at the fastest pace of the year and a surprisingly strong batch of US auto sales.

The auto industry sold 1.42 million vehicles in June in the US, well above the Edmunds.com projection of 1.36 million.

"The market has some pent-up demand" after trading sideways for the last week or so, said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at Wunderlich Securities.

US economic data was mixed. The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing purchasing managers index dipped 0.1 point to 55.3 in June, a disappointment next to a forecasted gain of 0.4 point, but well above the 50 reading that separates growth from contraction.

The Commerce Department reported US construction spending in May increased a less than expected 0.1 percent.