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

U.S. stocks advanced after a tepid and mixed morning. In the absence of major economic indicators, generally strong earnings seem to be supporting the markets.

DJIA: +0.08% to 15,068.50 S&P 500: +0.30% to 1,630.89 NASDAQ: +0.38% to 3,409.68
Gold: +$15.10 to $1,463.90 per ounce Oil: +$0.32 to $95.94 per barrel U.S. 10-Year: -0.023 points to 1.755%

Here are three stories helping shape the markets on Wednesday afternoon:

1) Why the Student Loan Bubble Looks Like the Housing Crisis: A group of bankers have just dumped two more problems on the Federal Reserve’s plate. The Federal Advisory Council, made up of 12 bankers who meet quarterly to advise the central bank, warned that farmland prices are inflating “a bubble” and growth in student-loan debt has “parallels to the housing crisis,” which was the primary cause of the 2007 to 2009 recession in the United States.

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Their alarm comes at a time when financial heavyweights on the Federal Open Market Committee are already debating whether the benefits created by their monthly purchases of $85 billion in bonds outweigh the risk of financial instability. Chairman Ben Bernanke has argued time and again that the program is essential to the economic recovery, but others are less convinced… (Read more.)

2) Americans Are Surprisingly Less Worried About Their Finances: The U.S. economy is still fragile and well below its glory days, but Americans are beginning to worry less about their personal finances.

Financial worry across the country declined to its lowest level since before the Great Recession last month, according to Gallup’s annual Economy and Personal Finance survey. Fifty-three percent of those polled were classified as highly or moderately worried about their finances, down from a peak of 61 percent last year. It was also the best reading since 45 percent in 2007… (Read more.)

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3) The Housing Recovery Loves These Low Interest Rates: The housing recovery is heavily dependent on low interest rates induced by the Federal Reserve, but mortgage applications continue to climb higher.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association’s latest report for the week ending May 3, loan application volume jumped 7 percent higher on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier. This comes after a 1.8 percent increase. These figures include both refinancing and home purchase demand, and cover over 75 percent of all domestic retail residential mortgage applications… (Read more.)

Don’t Miss: The Housing Recovery Loves These Low Interest Rates.