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

The major stocks were rising Tuesday afternoon, bouncing back after last week’s decline. As of 12 p.m.:

DIJA: +0.96% to 15450.43 S&P 500: +0.93% to 1664.92 NASDAQ: +1.13% to 3498.30
Gold: +0.46% to 74.32 Oil: +1.38% to 22.101 U.S. 10-Year: +5.12% to 21.14

Here are three stories helping shape the markets Monday afternoon:

1. Moody’s: U.S. Banking System is Finally Stable: Moody’s (NYSE:MCO) announced on Tuesday that it has changed the outlook in the U.S. banking system from negative to stable. This is the first time since 2008 that the firm has changed the outlook after downgrading it in the wake of the financial crisis.

The change reflects continued improvement in the environment in which banks are operating. Following the market crash and a surge in unemployment, the U.S. economic condition at large became one of the primary risks facing banks. But downside risks begin to evaporate as economic conditions improve, and Moody’s is now forecasting 2013 and 2014 GDP growth in a range between 1.5 and 2.5 percent. On top of this, the firm expects unemployment to fall toward 7.0 percent from its current level of 7.5 percent…(Read more.)

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2. Consumer Confidence Hits Highest Level Since February 2008: Despite a sluggish economy and political scandals, consumer confidence improved for the second consecutive month and continues to make new post-recession highs.

The index of consumer attitudes jumped to 76.2 in May, compared to an upwardly revised 69.0 in April, according to The Conference Board, an industry group. It was the best level for consumer confidence since February 2008. Analysts polled by Reuters expected the index to only reach 71.0 in May… (Read more.)

3. Are Home Prices Making Boom-Time Gains? Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, a leading measure of U.S. home prices, showed that all 20 cities measured posted boom-time gains in March; average home prices rose for the third straight month, the latest sign of how tighter inventories and soaring housing demand have led to an increase in home prices after several years of distressing declines.

Home prices in March rose 10.9 percent from the same month last year, the greatest year-over-year gain in almost seven years. Home prices are still 28 percent below their 2006 peak, but they have returned to levels last seen in late 2003… (Read more.)

Don’t Miss: Moody’s: U.S. Banking System Is Finally Stable.