Markets were higher following the three-day Memorial Day weekend, with the S&P 500 making both an all-time intraday and closing record high.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 16,675.50 (+69.2, +0.4%)
- S&P 500: 1,911.91 (+11.4, +0.6%)
- Nasdaq: 4,237.07 (+51.3, +1.2%)
Top stories of the day:
- U.S. durable goods orders rose 0.8% in April, topping expectations for a 0.7% decline. April’s number was lower than the revised March figure, which came in at 3.6%. Barclays said its GDP estimates remained unchanged following the report, “Despite core orders and shipments coming in slightly better than our forecast, the April durable goods report left our GDP tracking estimates unchanged at 3.1% q/q (saar) for Q2 and -0.6% q/q (saar) for Q1.”
- The Case-Shiller home price index, which tracks the price of homes in 20 cities, rose 1.24% month-over-month in March, beating expectations for a 0.7% increase. In a press release accompanying the results, David Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices said, “Despite signs of decelerating prices, all cities were higher than a year ago and all but New York were higher in March than in February. However, only Denver and Dallas have set new post-crisis highs and they experienced relatively lower peak levels than other cities. Four locations are fairly close to their previous highs: Boston (8%), Charlotte (9%), Portland (13%) and San Francisco (15%).”
- Markit’s flash U.S. services PMI came in at 58.4, topping expectations for a 55.4 reading. Private sector output was reported at 58.6, the fastest rate since April 2010. Commenting on the results, Markit senior economist Tim Moore said: “May’s flash services PMI survey is a further signal through the second quarter of the year. New business growth within the service sector reached its fastest for over three years amid the greatest month-on-month acceleration since the index began in late 2009. An improving service sector picture reinforces the upbeat message from the equivalent US manufacturing survey in May. As a result, the pendulum appears to be swinging towards firmer economic growth into the summer months.”
- The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index climbed to 83.0, which was in line with what economists had been expecting. In a note to investors, analysts at Pantheon Macro said, “The May consumer confidence index rose to 83.0 from 81.7, in line with the consensus. The April reading was revised down slightly to 81.7 from the initial 82.3. Both the present situation and expectations components rose slightly, though the upward trend in the former is much stronger. The present situation component tends to move in line with the unemployment rate, which has fallen rapidly over the past year. Expectations reflect an array of factors, including gas prices, the stock market and, in recent years, political/fiscal crises. At its May level, the expectations component is consistent with robust increases in consumers’ spending, at an annualized rate of 2.5-to-3%.”
- The Richmond Fed manufacturing index was reported at 7, in line with expectations. The Dallas Fed manufacturing index for May fell to from an 11.7 in April, which was also lower than the 9.5 reading that had been expected by economists.
- Pilgrim’s Pride, a chicken producer that supplies meat to fast food chains like KFC, Burger King and Chick-Fil-A, made an offer to buy Hillshire Brands for $6.4 billion, or $45 per share of Hillshire. Hillshire owns brands like Jimmy Dean and Ball Park.
- Gold prices fell nearly 2% to three-month lows below $1,270 an ounce, the precious metal’s lowest levels since February.
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