A hopeful sign for U.S.manufacturers sent stocks higher on this shortened trading session.
Factory orders rose more than expected in May. According to the Commerce Department, new orders rose 0.7 percent for the month, while economists had forecast an increase of 0.2 percent.
Automakers Ford (NYSE:F) and GM (NYSE:GM) both posted monthly sales which came in ahead of expectations. However Toyota (NYSE:TM) fell just short of expectations, despite a 60 percent increase in sales.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has announced it will take a $6.2 billion charge for its internet division, after the company admitted Monday its online businesses won't be as profitable as forecast.
Research in Motion (RIMM) is also struggling today after Barclays cut its rating on the company from "equal weight" to "underweight".
The markets are closed tomorrow for Independence Day and we'll be back on Thursday with a look at the ADP employment report, as well as the results for chain store sales.
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