NEW YORK, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. stock markets headed higher early and held onto gains through the day on Wall Street.
Although a Markit Economics/HSBC report pegged China's manufacturing sector as contracting for the second consecutive month, the U.S. purchasing managers index remained positive in February.
"Bigger picture, I don't think anything has really changed. People are comfortable that the recovery in the United States is still on track. ... It's clear the weather has depressed economic activity," David Lefkowitz, an equity strategist with UBS Wealth Management, told the Wall Street Journal.
The Dow Jones industrial average added 92.67 points or 0.58 percent to 16,133.23. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 11.03 points, 0.6 percent, to 1,839.78, back within 10 points of its Dec. 31, all time closing high.
The tech-dominated Nasdaq index added 29.59 points, 0.7 percent, to reach 4,267.55.
On the New York Stock Exchange, 2,038 issues advanced while 1,059 declined. Trading was moderate with 3.3 billion shares trading hands.
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 index lost 317.35 points, 2.15 percent, to 14,449.18. In London, the FTSE 100 index added 16.28 points, 0.24 percent, to 6,812.99.
The 10-year U.S. treasury fell 4/32 to yield 2.753 percent.
The dollar was lower against the euro at $1.372. The yen was higher at 102.31 yen.
Gold added $3, reaching $1,323.50 per ounce on the Comex exchange. Silver shed 20 cents to settle at $21.83.
Crude oil gave up 50 cents on the New York Mercantile Exchange, reaching $102.92 in late trading.
On the Chicago Board of Trade March delivery corn hit $4.56 per bushel, up 2.25 cents. May soybeans added 5.75 cents to $13.4775. March wheat gave up 6 cents to reach $6.145.