The markets ended the week on a positive note with the Dow rising to a near-record high, despite the deadline for government spending cuts.
On the economic front, consumer sentiment rose to 77.6 in February, according to a survey from Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan. That reading topped expectations as Americans appear to be feeling more hopeful about the jobs market.
Meanwhile, the pace of growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector was also better than economists' expectations, rising to 54.2 in January.
The Commerce Department is reporting a decline in construction spending, down by 2.1 percent in January, marking the first decline in 10 months.
Among automakers, General Motors (NYSE:GM) reported better than expected auto sales for February, sending shares higher today. Rivals Ford (NYSE:F) and Toyota (NYSE:TM) posted sales which fell short of estimates.
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