From the Wall Street Journal:
The U.S. manufacturing sector continued to expand in December, according to data released Tuesday by the Institute for Supply Management.
Separately, spending on construction projects in the U.S. climbed during November more than expected as builders try to make progress amid a sluggish economy.
The ISM's manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to 53.9 last month from 52.7 in November. A reading above 50 indicates expanding activity.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had expected the December PMI to increase to 53.5.
"Manufacturing is finishing out the year on a positive note," the ISM report said, "with an optimistic view toward 2012."