NEW YORK, July 1 (Xinhua) -- U.S. stocks rallied Tuesday, lifting the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 to record highs on the first trading day of the second half of this year, as robust U.S. and Chinese manufacturing data boosted optimism about global economy.
The blue-chip Dow surged 129.47 points, or 0.77 percent, to a fresh record closing high of 16,956.07, after setting an intraday record of 16,998.70 points, just fractions away from the psychologically important level of 17,000 points.
The S&P 500 gained 13.09 points, or 0.67 percent, to a record closing high of 1,973.32, surpassing its previous record close on June 20. The broader benchmark index also hit an all-time intraday high of 1,978.58 points, above its previous intraday record set on June 24.
The Nasdaq Composite Index added 50.47 points, or 1.14 percent, to a 14-year high of 4,458.65.
U.S. equities' strong rally Tuesday was fueled by positive U.S. and Chinese manufacturing data, as investors felt optimistic towards the global economy which has recovered from a weak first quarter inflicted by bad wintry weather.
On the economic front, the Institute for Supply Management said Tuesday that economic activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector expanded in June for the 13th consecutive month, with the purchasing managers' index (PMI) at 55.3 percent, just 0.1 percentage point lower than the five-month high of 55.4 percent in May.
Financial data firm Markit said the U.S. manufacturing sector expanded in June, with its final U.S. manufacturing PMI rising to 57.3, the highest since May 2010.
Upbeat Chinese manufacturing data overnight also gave Wall Street a boost. China's official data released Tuesday showed growth in the country's manufacturing sector accelerated to a six- month high in June, with the PMI rising to 51 last month, registering a strong end to the second quarter and an encouraging sign that the world's second largest economy is further stabilizing.
In corporate news, General Motors on Tuesday said its total auto sales in the United States were up 1 percent in June from a year ago, beating market expectations of a decline on concerns of a string of safety recalls due to its ignition switch defect. General Motors shares gained 3.55 percent to close at 37.59 U.S. dollars apiece.
The major focus of the week will be the U.S. nonfarm payroll report for June scheduled for release Thursday by the Labor Department, as well as a speech from Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen at a conference of the International Monetary Fund Wednesday.
U.S. financial markets will be closed Friday for the Independence Day holiday.
U.S. stocks wrapped up the first half of this year higher, with the Dow up 1.5 percent, the S&P 500 gaining 6.1 percent and the Nasdaq adding 5.5 percent.
The CBOE Volatility Index, often referred to as Wall Street's fear gauge, retreated 3.63 percent to end at a multi-year low of 11.15 Tuesday.
In other markets, the dollar stabilized and traded mixed against major currencies.
In late New York trading, the euro fell to 1.3679 dollars from 1.3695 dollars of the previous session. The greenback bought 101. 52 Japanese yen, higher than 101.28 yen of the previous session.
Crude prices steadied amid upbeat U.S. and Chinese manufacturing data. Light, sweet crude for August delivery edged down 3 cents to settle at 105.34 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for August delivery lost 7 cents to close at 112.29 dollars a barrel.
Gold futures on the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange kept rising on tensions in Ukraine and Iraq.
The most active gold contract for August delivery rose 4.6 dollars, or 0.35 percent, to settle at 1,326.6 dollars per ounce.