Chrysler, Ford Report Best May Auto Sales In Years

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U.S. manufacturing activity contracted for the first time since November, according to a report released Monday. The ISM monthly reading on the U.S. manufacturing sector came in at 49 in May, down from 50.7 in April. Any number below 50 indicates the sector is contracting. This was only the second time that the sector has shrunk since 2009.

Separate data on Monday revealed that the final reading of Markit's manufacturing PMI picked up in May from a six-month low in April, however, Markit said the PMI was consistent with only a modest rate of growth.

Other data showed that construction spending in the U.S. rose in April despite weakness in residential projects and government spending. Construction spending rose 0.4 percent in April, compared with March, when spending fell a revised 0.8 percent, the Commerce Department reported Monday.

Motor vehicle sales are reported on Monday. Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) and Chrysler Group LLC reported U.S. sales gains in May that exceeded analysts’ estimates.

Ford reported that U.S. sales were up 14 percent compared to a year ago, while Chrysler’s sales increased 11 percent, its best May sales in six years.

Nissan Motor Co. also beat analysts’ estimates as sales rose 25 percent. General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) deliveries rose 3.1 percent, and Toyota Motor Corp.'s rose 2.5 percent, both less than analysts had estimated.

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