U.S. stocks were higher as a boost in non-cyclical consumer names helped to offset selling in the energy sector. Crude oil pressured the latter, falling more than one percent on an increase in OPEC production last month. Manufacturing growth in April fell, though remained just above the line separating expansion from contraction. Both production and new orders softened, while the employment index remained in negative territory, suggesting further manufacturing job losses in coming months. Construction spending in March rose to its strongest level since October 2007. Private construction, particularly in the residential space, helped to boost activity. GNC (GNC) jumped after suggesting it is considering a sale as it reviews strategic and financial alternatives to its current operating plan.
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