The major stocks were increasing for the third day in a row Thursday. As of 12 p.m.:
|DIJA: +0.66% to 15008.07||S&P 500: +0.64% to 1613.54||NASDAQ: +0.79% to 3403.05|
|Gold: +2.88% to 62.2202||Oil: +1.99% to 22.5501||U.S. 10-Year: -1.77% to 24.94|
Here are three stories helping shape the market Thursday afternoon.
1. Is the American Consumer Making a Comeback? For much of the second quarter, whispers of an impending slowdown followed the majority of economic releases. But while economists are estimating that the economy expanded at a measly 1.5 to 1.9 percent annual pace between April and June, government data released Thursday morning contained signs that slower economic growth earlier this quarter was just a stumble on the road to recovery.
In the past week, fewer Americans filed for jobless benefits, the Department of Labor reported, with the number of claims dropping 9,000 to 346,000, an indication that employers are confident enough that consumer demand and optimism will be sustained as the housing market improves…(Read more.)
2. The Housing Recovery Reaches a New Record: The real estate recovery story certainly comes with caveats such as low interest rates and inventory levels, but the latest report on pending home sales easily beat expectations and reached its best level in more than six years.
The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, jumped 6.7 percent to 112.3 in May, compared to 105.2 in April, according to the National Association of Realtors. The index is now at its highest level since December 2006, and topped estimates calling for an increase of only 1.0 percent… (Read more.)
3. Economic Fears Continue, But Employment Figures Stand Strong: Unemployment may be still “elevated” as the Federal Reserve says, but the broader trend is heading lower for initial claims for unemployment benefits. Smaller reductions in staff indicated that employers are confident enough that consumer demand and optimism will be sustained as the housing market improves, and bigger gains in sales will likely encourage companies to increase hiring, helping to reduce the unemployment rate.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits, which act as a proxy for layoffs, are a good measure of the health of the economy… (Read more.)