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What Happened to the Dow Jones Today

This is a syndicated repost courtesy of Money Morning. To view original, click here. Reposted with permission.

Markets rose modestly on Monday after investors weighed data from earnings season.

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The Dow Jones today gained 40 points to close at 16,449.25. The S&P 500 is on its longest winning streak since October, rising 7 points to close at 1,871.89. The Nasdaq gained 26 points to close at 4,121.55, up for a fifth straight session.

Of the 87 companies in the S&P 500 to report results through today, approximately 62% have beaten earnings expectations, according to Thomson Reuters. This figure, however, is down from the 66% average of the last four quarters. Today’s mark of five consecutive winnings days for the S&P 500 is the longest streak for the index since October 2013.

Here’s your recap of five of today’s major market events…

  1. Bad News for Housing: The U.S. housing market earned another downgrade this year. Following a topsy-turvy first quarter, U.S. mortgage titans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac slashed their forecasts for expected construction and sales of houses for 2014. Doug Duncan, Fannie’s chief economist, projects construction of 1.05 million housing units this year, cutting 50,000 units from his previous forecast. Just last week, Freddie economists cut their forecast of home sales for 2014 from 5.6 million to 5.5 million. Credit concerns continue to weigh on the markets.
  2. No Faith in the Markets: Americans still don’t trust the U.S. markets. According a survey released on Monday by Bankrate.com, more than 7 in 10 Americans are “not more inclined to invest in stocks.” The survey asked 1,000 households about their confidence in the markets, and 73% returned with a negative view. This is the third consecutive year that investors’ confidence has eroded in the markets.
  3. Change of Guard: America’s iconic automaker is going to have a new leader within the next years. According to Bloomberg, Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) will appoint current Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields as the successor to chief executive Alan Mulally. Reports indicate that Mulally, who was considered for the Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) chief executive officer position early this year, will be stepping down as soon as May 1. Fields has worked for Ford for 25 years.
  1. It’s a Big Deal: The smartphone battles will rage on. This afternoon, Nokia Corp. (NYSE ADR: NOK) announced that it expects to finalize the sale of its handset business to Microsoft by April 25. According to company officials, the firm received the necessary approvals from Chinese regulators. The deal, which was reached back in September 2013, is valued at 5.4 billion euro ($7.5 billion).
  2. No Raise for You: Don’t start spending money you haven’t earned yet. Turns out, a raise isn’t likely coming for most Americans for a while. According to a survey by the National Association of Business Economics (NABE), 8 of 10 companies do not expect wages to increase over the next three years. The survey indicates that 80% of businesses see wage growth adjusted for inflation to rise between zero and 3%. Despite the flat wages, it would actually be an improvement over the last three years. From 2011 to 2013, private industry inflation adjusted earnings fell by 0.7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Cost Index.

Read the reast of this post What Happened to the Dow Jones Today published at  Money Morning.

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