April 01 - Summary: Positive manufacturing data lifts stocks to new record; GM CEO testifies; Auto sales rise; Apple to make bigger iPhone- sources. Bobbi Rebell reports.
U.S. stocks rose, with the S&P 500 hitting a record, after latest data showed economic growth is gaining traction following a harsh winter. General Motor's CEO Marry Barra was on Capitol Hill to answer questions about the automaker's slow response to defective ignition switches in its cars. She was unable to answer many questions- claiming ignorance and admitting that she had not read all the documents GM submitted to the committee, but did say she would take responsibility. SOUNDBITE MARRY BARRA, CEO, GENERAL MOTORS (ENGLISH) SPEAKING: "The facts will be the facts. Once they are in my leadership team, and I will do what is need to help ensure that this does not happen again. We will hold ourselves fully accountable." At least 13 people died because of that defect over the past decade. Efraim Levy of S&P capital IQ. SOUNDBITE: EFRAIM LEVY, AUTO AND AUTO PARTS ANALYST, S&P CAPITAL IQ, (ENGLISH) SPEAKING: "As far as the culture at GM, it's kind of scary to find an excuse for why they would see such a safety risk, know people have fatalities because of this, and, yet, they continue to produce the same part." GM's stock had been trading up but closed down following the testimony. Separately auto sales were released- overall they inched up in March- GM sales were up 4 percent. Ford Motor reported a 3 percent rise in U.S. sales, Toyota had a 5 percent rise, and Chrysler Group, a unit of Fiat, a 13 percent increase from a year ago. The stocks were mixed. In economic news: The Institute for Supply Management said its index of national factory activity rose, but not as much as economists expected. Construction spending was basically flat, with residential construction tumbling almost one percent. In separate research, a data firm Markit said its final U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index slipped in February, but still points out to expansion. Supply chain sources say Apple's suppliers will start mass producing new larger screens for the next iPhone as early as May. Apple stock rose in Tuesday trading. European stocks extended two-week rally, helped by M&A fever as well as good French and U.S. data.