Friday’s Mid-Day Movers: 3 Stories Driving Markets

The major stocks were slipping Friday after reports showed optimistic consumer sentiment and investors worked to determine how this would affect the Federal Reserve’s stimulus measures decisions. As of 12 p.m.:

DIJA: +0.05% to 15332.46 S&P 500: -0.10% to 1652.78 NASDAQ: +0.02% to 3491.92
Gold: +0.33% to 79.57 Oil: 1.06% to 21.4901 U.S. 10-Year: +1.27% to 21.51

Here are three stories helping shape the market Friday afternoon:

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1.Is Europe’s Unemployment Worse Than We Thought? The roots of unemployment are growing deeper in Europe, and unless something happens soon, the future will not be much brighter.

The number of people out of work reached a record high in April, with 12.2 percent of EU citizens in need of work. This figure represents 19.4 million people trying to find a job, and nearly a quarter of those were under the age of 25… (Read more.)

2. Consumer Sentiment Hits Highest Level Since July 2007: Despite an overall sluggish economy, consumer sentiment in the United States reached its best level in almost six years.

According to the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s final reading, consumer sentiment in May rose to 84.5, compared to 76.4 in April. This is the highest level for the index since July 2007. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for an increase to 83.7. The overall range of estimates varied from 81.5 to 85.8… (Read more.)

3. Income and Spending Decline: Is the Recovery Neglecting Main Street? Both consumer spending and personal income were weak in April, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis on Friday. The data, which fell short of analyst expectations, suggests that while consumer confidence is at post-recession highs, economic conditions have not yet totally caught up.

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Personal income decreased by $5.6 billion in April, or less than 0.1 percent, while disposable personal income decreased by $16.1 billion, or 0.1 percent. Personal consumption expenditures — the U.S. Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation — decreased $20.5 billion, or 0.2 percent. Analysts were expecting personal income to increase 0.1 percent, spending to remain flat, and the personal consumption index to decline just 0.2 percent… (Read more.)

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