The People’s Bank Of China announced that it would make an effort to guide interest rates to an as-yet undefined “reasonable range” in order to avoid a feared credit crunch, while two regional Federal Reserve Bank presidents attempted to soften the shock of last Wednesday’s announcement from Chairman Ben Bernanke that outlined a much sooner than expected withdrawal date for the U.S. central bank’s role in stimulating the economy.
Dallas Fed Reserve President Richard Fisher, along with Minnesota President Narayana Kocherlakota, both currently non-voting members of the Federal Open Market Committee, came out on Monday in an attempt to allay concerns about the Fed abandoning the economy. Both men highlighted the more dovish aspects of the statements made during Bernanke’s press conference last week, and reassured investors that Federal stimulus would be forthcoming if needed, even after the end of “tapering.”
The S&P 500 closed on a gain of 0.95 percent to 1,588.03 points, while the Dow was up 0.69 percent to close at 14,760.70 points, and the Nasdaq advanced to 3,347.89 points, up 0.82 percent.
Indices were bolstered by some unexpectedly good economic data. The Case-Schiller home price index was released, indicating that prices had gained 12.1 percent year-over-year, well in front of the 10.6 percent forecasted by economists. On a monthly basis, prices were up 1.7 percent for the fastest increase on record. Sales of new homes were also up 2.1 percent month-over-month in May, for an annual rate of 476,000 and well ahead of the expected 1.3 percent increase.
The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index increased to 8 after last month’s -2, a significant improvement on expectations of a 4 point increase from the month of May, while the Conference Board said that its consumer confidence index was up to 81.4 percent in June, well ahead of the 75.1 that had been expected.