US STOCKS-Banks and tech fuel robust gains on Wall Street
* U.S. factory, construction data suggests economic pickup
* Automakers gain after February U.S. sales increase
* Honeywell up after dropping United Tech bid
* Indexes up: Dow 1.79 pct, S&P 1.9 pct, Nasdaq 2.34 pct (Updates to afternoon trading)
By Noel Randewich
March 1 (Reuters) - Wall Street surged on Tuesday to its highest since early January, led by financial and technology stocks after encouraging U.S. factory and construction data suggested the world's biggest economy was regaining momentum.
While manufacturing activity contracted in February, steadying new orders growth and improving inventories offered signs of stability.
Construction spending in January surged to the highest since 2007, while strong auto sales also boosted sentiment.
The data strengthened expectations the U.S. economy is gaining steam after slowing in the fourth quarter. Continuación...