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

The major stock markets were  rising Tuesday afternoon. As of 12:30 p.m.:

DIJA: +0.66% to 15191.13 S&P 500: +0.97% to 1649.59 NASDAQ: +0.87% to 29.85
Gold: -1.34% to 75.58 Oil: -0.13% to 22.10 U.S. 10-Year: +0.16 to 19.26

Here are three stories helping shape the market on Tuesday afternoon:

1. Businesses Feel Better About the Economy, But Remain Cautious: Although stocks continue to make new all-time nominal highs, the recovery on Main Street is still lacking, to say the least. Small business owners felt slightly more optimistic last month, but are still cautious regarding the future, as problems remain in Washington and the overall economy.

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The National Federation of Independent Business, the leading nonprofit small business association representing small and independent businesses, reported that its Small Business Optimism Index increased 2.6 points in April to 92.1, compared to 89.5 in the previous month. December’s level of 88.0 was the second worst reading since March 2010. In the 45 months of economic expansion since the beginning of the “recovery” in July 2009, the index has averaged 90.7… (Read more.)

2. Who’s Championing the Mobile Phone Market? The numbers are out for smartphone and overall mobile sales around the world. However, the report does not contain too many surprises for anyone who has been keeping track of the figures for some time.

According to data from research firm Gartner, Samsung (SSNLF.PK) came in the lead for global smartphone sales as well as in the mobile phone category — which includes both smartphones and lower-end devices, such as feature phones. Samsung had 64.7 million smartphones shipped to end users in the first quarter of the year, and had a total of 100.6 million phones shipped… (Read more.)

3. Chinese Firms Knocking on Detroit Doors: Auto Boom For Everyone: For years, American companies have relied on manufacturing practices that involve deeply entrenched operations in China and other emerging economies. While the great exodus of manual labor was held at the detriment of American jobs, it opened the doors to a way of life that the United States has now become entirely accustomed to.

A few decades ago, this was not the case, especially in the auto industry. Cars were proudly made in America, one of the few longer-lasting traditions that the country has kept within its shores. Thus, when a spike of Japanese imports arrived stateside in the early 1980s, the cheaper, more fuel-efficient vehicles were shunned as invasive. Now, in a twist to the standard import-from-China model, Chinese car companies are setting up shop right in the domestic automobile industry’s heart of Detroit — albeit quietly… (Read more.)

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