US STOCKS-Wall St surges as U.S. data points to economic recovery
* 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 1.74 pct, S&P 1.86 pct, Nasdaq 2.18 pct (Updates to early afternoon)
By Abhiram Nandakumar
March 1 (Reuters) - Wall Street surged on Tuesday, led by financial and technology stocks, after encouraging U.S. factory and construction data suggested the economy was regaining momentum after slowing in the fourth quarter.
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 level since 2007, while strong auto sales data also boosted sentiment.
The better-than-expected data helped spark the rally in financial stocks, giving investors a greater sense of confidence and a bigger risk appetite, said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles. Continuación...