Wall Street catches breath
NEW YORK — A record-breaking rally in stocks paused on Monday as investors assessed whether the rise in stock valuations overstated improvements in the economy.
The latest positive data showed that Americans increased spending at retailers last month. That suggests that consumers may boost economic growth in the quarter ending June 30. Still, that wasn't enough to lift shares.
“What we have seen is a huge rally, and there aren't any stones unturned at this point,” said Alec Young, global equity strategist at S&P Capital IQ. “You reach a point where investors aren't willing to bid things up any more.”
Stocks have surged this year, boosted by an improving economy, Federal Reserve stimulus, record corporate earnings and a reviving housing market. The Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard and Poor's 500 index closed at record highs on Friday.
Oil fell 87 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $95.17 a barrel. Gold dropped $2.30, or 0.2 percent, to $1,434.30 an ounce. The dollar was little changed against the Japanese yen at 101.83 and gained against the euro.
Retail sales increased 0.1 percent in April from March, the Commerce Department said. That's an improvement from the 0.5 percent decline in March, which was the largest drop in nine months. Economists had forecast that sales declined by 0.3 percent.
Consumer sentiment is improving as the housing market recovers, which is giving people the confidence to spend more, said Doug Cote, chief market strategist at ING Investment Management.
“If housing continues its upward trajectory, the animal spirits of the consumer will continue to be bolstered,” Cote said.
Stocks started lower, then pared some of those losses throughout the day.
The Dow fell 26.81 points, or 0.2 percent, to 15,091.68. The S&P 500 was little changed at 1,633.77. The Dow is up 15.2 percent this year, and the S&P 500 is 14.6 percent higher.
Telecommunications dropped the most of any sector in the S&P 500 index, falling 0.83 percent. Health care advanced the most, rising 0.7 percent.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Indian firm plans exports of ethane from U.S. shale fields
- EDMC to cut costs, roll out new grant
- UPMC earnings turn positive, but pressures mount
- Energy sector powers Pa. pace
- Auto sales increase along with subprime loans
- HTC to construct Windows version of flagship phone
- Unsecured creditors of Lehman to get $4.6B distribution
- Cash stash bolsters U.S. Steel
- Stocks shake off Fed’s talk of stepping up interest rate hike
- Target cuts annual profit outlook
- Obama weighs broader move on immigration solutions