STOCKS HIT HIGHEST LEVEL SINCE DECEMBER 2007: Here's What You Need To Know

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The PMI and ISM reports are off to a good start.First the scoreboard:

Dow: 13,279, +65.6, +0.5%
S&P 500: 1,405, +7.9, +0.5%
NASDAQ: 3,050, +4.0, +0.1%

And now the top stories:

  • The beginning of a new month brings us purchasing managers indices (PMI) from around the world.  Last night, China reported that their official PMI number climbed to 53.3. This is up from 53.1 from a month ago.  However, this was below the 53.6 economists were looking for.  Also in Asia, South Korea’s exports fell 4.7 per cent versus the 1.0 per cent increase economists were expecting.  These are both indicators favoured by Goldman’s Jim O’Neill.  Don’t Miss: Jim O’Neill Describes Each Of The BRICs And N-11 Growth Markets In 60 Seconds >
  • UK’s PMI fell to 50.5 from 51.9 a month ago.  This missed economists’ forecast calling for 51.5.  New orders came in particularly weak.  All of this left us wondering if the global economy was rolling over.
  • April’s U.S. ISM manufacturing report unexpectedly jumped to 54.8 from 53.4 a month ago.  Economists were expecting the number to decline to 53.0.  This bullish read on the U.S. economy overshadows the disappointing March construction spending number which climbed just 0.1 per cent versus an expectation for a 0.5 per cent gain.
  • Natural gas prices surged again today, which was a boon to the natural gas stocks.  Among the natgas leaders was Chesapeake Energy.  The company announced that CEO Aubrey McClendon would be stepping down as Chairman of the Board and that a new non-executive chairman would be appointed.  They also announced that McClendon would not be compensated in connection to the early termination of its controversial Founders Well Participation Program. CITI: This Is What The World’s Most Important Commodities Will Do In 2012 And 2013 >
  • All day, the automakers announced their April auto sales numbers.  Overall, cars were selling at an annualized rate of 14.4 million in the U.S. However, U.S. auto giants Ford and GM both said sales fell year-over-year.
  • Shares of Herbalife plummeted 20 per cent today after Greenlight Capital’s David Einhorn jumped on the earnings conference call and started asking about the company’s disclosure practices.
  • Apple was a laggard today on no material news. The stock can’t seem to get its momentum legs back.  In other Apple news, Business Insider completed some research and found that the tech giant destroyed 490,000 jobs.
  • Don’t Miss: Here’s How Millionaires And Billionaires Really Feel About The Global Economy >

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