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Stock Market News for May 29, 2013

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Home prices increased to a seven-year high and consumer confidence attained a five-year high boosting investor sentiment on Tuesday. Skepticism on whether or not the Federal Reserve will taper the bond purchasing program was shrugged off after the Bank of Japan and European Central Bank assured policies will be implemented to attain global economic growth. Among the top ten S&P 500 industry groups, energy stocks gained the most. Utilities stocks suffered maximum losses.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) gained 0.7% to close the day at 15,409.39. The S&P 500 increased 0.6% to finish Friday’s trading session at 1,660.06. The tech-laden Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.9% to end at 3,488.89. The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) gained 3.5% to settle at 14.48. Consolidated volumes on the New York Stock Exchange, American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq were roughly 6.25 billion shares, marginally below 2013’s average of 6.36 billion shares. Advancing stocks outnumbered the decliners. For the 57% that advanced, 41% declined.

Rise in home prices acted as a catalyst, helping major indices reach a new high yesterday. Home prices reached its highest level in the past seven years. Consumer confidence jumped to a five year high. Investors were wary of the Fed tapering or slowing the bond purchasing program. But fears were shrugged off after Bank of Japan and European Central bank, affirmed its policies would stay in place to bolster global economic growth.

The S&P/Case-Shiller 10-city and 20-city composite Home Price indices increased by 10.3% and 10.9%, respectively in March. This level was last attained seven years ago. In the first quarter of 2013, the composite increased 1.2% on a national basis. On a monthly basis, both 10-city and 20-city composite Home Price indices witnessed an increase of 1.4%.

Drop in foreclosure sales and low mortgage rates have helped the increase in demand. Top five Metropoliton Statistical Areas (MSAs) to gain month over month for last seven years are Seattle, Tampa, Los Angeles, Portland and Charlotte. According to the Conference Board, the consumer confidence index increased to 76.2 in May from 69.0 in April. The Present Situation Index increased 66.7 from 61.0 while the Expectations Index improved 82.4 from 74.3 in the previous month.

On the international front, the International Monetary Fund revised China’s growth rate to 7.75% from 8%. Second quarter of 2013 has witnessed a series of discouraging reports by China, which ignited fears of further economic growth. Manufacturing activity, factory orders and lower-than-expected export-import data will probably affect the economic growth of the country in a major way.

On the earnings front, shares of Tiffany & Co. (NYSE:TIF) surged almost 4.0% as its fiscal first quarter earnings beat the Street’ estimates. Revenue of the company increased 9.3% at $895.4 million compared to the Street’s estimates of $855.1 million. Gains were registered in China, Americas and Japan. The company also said the profit of the company would have been higher only if Japanese Yen wouldn’t have depreciated.

Of the top ten S&P 500 industry groups, energy stocks gained the most. The Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) gained 1%. Stocks such as Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES), Occidental Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:OXY), ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) and Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (NYSE:APC) gained 0.8%, 1.5%, 2.1%, 0.5% and 2.4%, respectively.

Utilities stocks suffered maximum losses. The Utilities SPDR (XLU) lost 1.2%. Stocks such as Duke Energy Corp. (NYSE:DUK), the Southern Company (NYSE:SO), Spectra Energy Corp. (NYSE:SE), NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE) and TECO Energy, Inc. (NYSE:TE) lost 1.6%, 0.7%, 0.7%, 0.4% and 3.0%, respectively.

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