The major U.S. stock indexes moved slightly higher in early trading. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 19 points to 12,891. The Standard & Poor's 500 was up three to 1,368. The Nasdaq composite index was up seven to 2,958.
Trading volume was light, with the market scheduled to close at 1 p.m. and many traders already off for the Fourth of July holiday.
Chrysler, Ford and General Motors all said that auto sales rose in May. Ford stock rose 3 percent, and GM rose 4 percent. Other car companies were reporting sales throughout the day.
Stocks rose broadly at 10 a.m. after the government reported that U.S. factories received more orders in May after two months of declines. On Monday, a trade group said that U.S. manufacturing shrank in June for the first time in almost three years.
But mostly, investors were in a holding pattern. They were waiting for the government's report on June employment, which comes out Friday, and corporate earnings for the second quarter, which are reported beginning next week.
Europe was relatively quiet, though with underpinnings of discord. A Greek government spokesman said the government was preparing an "alarming" report on its recession in a bid to renegotiate the terms of its bailout.
Major indexes in France, Britain, Germany and Spain rose slightly.
The European Central Bank will announce later this week whether it will cut interest rates. That could drive markets higher.
Eastman Kodak stock rose 15 percent after getting approval from a bankruptcy court to auction more of its patents.
Alcoa, the aluminum company, was up the most of the 30 companies in the Dow, rising about 2 percent. It reports second-quarter earnings Monday, the first Dow stock to report.
Home Depot was down the most, falling more than 2 percent.