Stocks in the U.S. are up today with no real catalyst to spark the buying momentum. The U.S. Department of Commerce said today that consumer spending remained flat from April to May, largely because gas prices have fallen. Wall Street analysts believe that the report indicates that higher costs for household essentials are squeezing consumers, and the economy could remain in its sluggish pace as discretionary spending remains stagnant. But with gas prices falling from over $4 a gallon to around $3.60 per nationwide, analysts believe that the drop could relieve some of the pressure on U.S. households and encourage more discretionary spending. With the nation's unemployment rate still around 9 percent, it's hard to imagine much spending growth from cash strapped consumers. On the other hand, many investment strategists are forecasting a strong second half for 2011, with the S&P 500 ending the year at 1382--almost a 10 percent rise above where it stands now, according to CNN. Analysts also expect companies in the S&P 500 to earn $24.24 per share compared to the $22.18 in March.
Major U.S. Stock Indices
DJIA: 12,049.85 (+0.97 percent)
S&P 500: 1,279.74 (+0.89 percent)
NASDAQ: 2,687.25 (+1.30 percent)
Russell 2000: 802.36 (+0.57 percent)
In other news:
- The U.S. Federal Reserve is ending QE2, it's $600 billion bond-buying program, but could stil buy as much as $300 billion in Treasuries over the next year to keep the money supply from tightening up. [Bloomberg]
- If history is any indication--which, depending on what investors and economists you ask, it may or may not be--commodities are about to get very bullish. [Bloomberg]
- French President Nicolas Sarkozy says the nation's banks are ready to step in to help resolve the Greece debt crisis, and hopes other countries will do the same. [NY Times]
- U.S. Supreme Court: Violent video games are O.K. for minors. Companies like Microsoft (MSFT), Sony (SNE), and especially Take-Two (TTWO) and Activision Blizzard (ATVI) rejoice. [WSJ]
- Is the exchange-traded fund industry becoming too big? ETFs control roughly $1.5 trillion in assets but have grown at an extraordinarily in popularity among investors in the past two decades. [Economist]
Check back for more news.
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