The U.S. Commerce Department reported that factory orders rose a higher-than-expected 1.6% in January, to a seasonally adjusted $325.8 billion, after a revised 0.7% rise in December. Analysts had anticipated a 1.5% increase for the month.

Increases were seen across the board. The category of long-lasting durable goods climbed 2.0% after a 0.9% rise the previous month. The inventory-to-shipments ratio, which measures the amount of time it would take to deplete supplies at the current pace of shipments, was 1.33 months, down from 1.37 in December and the lowest level since July 2000.

Last Friday, another key indicator for manufacturing, the Institute for Supply Management's February Purchasing Managers Index rose to 54.7 from 49.9 in January, breaking above the 50 level -- which indicates expanding factory activity -- for the first time since July 2000.