US stocks closed higher Monday, the first trading day of the second quarter, with investors citing the latest U.S. manufacturing numbers as a reason for optimism. In US economic news, the March ISM Manufacturing Index came in above expectations at 53.4, which was up from 52.4 in the prior month. Stocks have been steadily performing well, despite recent weak reports on housing and durable goods. The Dow and S&P 500 ended their best first quarter in over a decade last week, and the Nasdaq had its best first quarter since 1991. The gains have been driven by generally improving economic data in the United States and easing concerns about the debt crisis in Europe. The Federal Reserve (Fed) has also been a comfort to investors as it said it would continue to support the economy. The dollar fell slightly against the pound and the yen, but gained slightly against the euro. Light sweet crude oil for May delivery increased $2.21 to $105.23 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold futures gained $8.20 to $1,677.50 an ounce. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 52.45, or 0.40 percent, to 13,264.49. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500 index increased 10.57, or 0.75, to 1,419.04. The technology-heavy Nasdaq composite index gained 28.13, or 0.91 percent, to 3,119.70.