Stocks started the week higher after a new round of data and M&A activity. The ISM manufacturing index slipped to 56.5 in February, falling slightly more than expected. The manufacturing sector continued to expand, but at a slower pace. A reading above 50 signals an expansion in activity. Meanwhile, January construction spending was down 0.6%, as expected, as unsteady commercial real estate overshadowed improvement in residential housing.
Consumers, on the other hand, spent more in January than expected, though income growth was weak. Personal income increased 0.1%, while personal spending rose 0.5%. Economists had anticipated a 4% gain in income and spending.