Stocks extended their rally into Monday trading with across-the-board gains ahead of the flood of second quarter earnings reports releases that were set to begin with Aluminum manufacturer Alcoa’s (AA) shortly after the closing bell.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 was back within reach of its all-time high, up 0.53 percent to close at 1,640.46 points, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.59 percent to 15,224.69 points, and the NASDAQ rose 0.16 percent to end the day at 3,484.83 points.
The day’s only economic data point came in the form of Federal Reserve figures showing that outstanding consumer credit rose to $2.84 trillion in the month of May, up $19.6 billion, a significant increase on the expected $12.5 billion figure and an indication for some analysts that consumers and households have felt confident enough to assume more credit.
Otherwise, the week should become progressively dominated by earnings reports, in conjunction with the release of the minutes from June’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting and the following press conference from Chairman Ben Bernanke. These events will, of course, be closely watched by investors for indications about when and at what pace the central bank will begin to pull back on $85 billion a month in bond purchases.
After a press conference from June 19 during which Bernanke suggested that tapering could begin as soon as September, markets went haywire for several days before settling into the upward trend of the past week.
Basic materials stocks had a good day on the S&P 500, with Peabody Energy (BTU) leading the way up on an advance of almost 5 percent, followed by CONSOL Energy Inc. (CNX), up just shy of 4 percent, with Phillips 66 (PSX) and Tesoro Corporation (TSO) in tow.
Meanwhile tech stocks had a rough day, with Intel (INTC) and SanDisk Corp. (SNDK) respectively at the bottom of the pile.
Most of the Dow’s components ended the day in the positive, with Uniteadhealth Group (UNTC) and Wal-Mart (WMT) in the lead, while the NASDAQ saw Dell Inc. (DELL) up over 3 percent on news that Institutional Shareholder Services issues a recommendation to the company’s shareholders advising them to accept founder and CEO Michael Dell’s bid to take the company private.