Wall Street closes higher on data

US stocks have reversed significant early losses to close higher as investors cheered more US data that highlighted a lift in economic activity

US stocks have reversed significant early losses to close higher as investors cheered more US data that highlighted a lift in economic activity.

Stocks had earlier given up about 1 per cent as rising tensions in Ukraine and soft manufacturing data in China put a dampener on investor optimism.

At the closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 17.66 points, or 0.11%, to 16,530.55.

The broad-based S&P 500 added 3.52 points, or 0.19%, to 1,884.66, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 14.16 points, or 0.34%, to 4,138.06.

The soft start to the trading day was caused by news a closely watched manufacturing index in China had failed to climb above 50, which represents the line between contraction and expansion.

Escalating violence in Ukraine's east also had investors on edge, while news that JP Morgan had scaled back its markets revenue forecast on Friday placed financial stocks under pressure.

Sentiment turned late in the morning session, however, as the ISM's non-manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to 55.2 in April from 53.1 in March. This was above expectations for a reading of 54.1.

"Despite the lower start, equity indices have been able to battle back to their flat lines, but the continued underperformance of the financial sector has acted as a limiting factor for the broader market," Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare said.