Wall Street hung out the bunting Thursday as investors and entrail-rakers alike celebrated an unexpected leap in US manufacturing activity. Stock values rallied at the news, as did the US dollar.

The jollities further increased when it became known that the Bush administration will next week unveil a series of measures designed to light a fire under the economy.

Triggering the celebrations were the December data from the Institute for Supply Management, whose index of factory activity jumped to 54.7 from 49.2 the previous month – well above the anticipated level of 50, the threshold between growth and contraction.

This indicates that output grew in December for the first time since August and at the fastest pace since June. By close of business Thursday US stock indices were all up by over three percent, while the dollar rose against the Euro.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff