[05/16/14] Consumer confidence unexpectedly fell in May from a nine-month high, showing Americans are being shaken by rising grocery bills and elevated fuel costs.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary sentiment index decreased to 81.8 from 84.1 in April. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a gain to 84.5.
Food prices have risen and the cost of gasoline has held near its highest level of the year, making buyers less secure in their finances. Falling unemployment, rising home prices and near-record stock indexes could provide support for sentiment, giving Americans the wherewithal to boost the spending that makes up 70 percent of the economy.
[05/13/14] Retail sales barely rose in April, tempering hopes of a sharp acceleration in economic growth in the second quarter.
The Commerce Department said on Tuesday that retail sales edged up 0.1 percent last month, held back by declines in receipts at furniture, electronic and appliance stores, as well as restaurants and bars, and online retailers.
Retail sales, which account for a third of consumer spending, rose by a revised 1.5 percent in March. That was the largest increase since March 2010 and reflected pent-up demand after a brutally cold winter.
“You really had a spectacular March,” said Guy Berger,...
[05/12/14] The stock market returned to record levels on Monday as investors regained their appetite for riskier stocks.
After beating down Internet and small companies for two months, investors decided that those stocks had fallen enough. Among the big gainers were Twitter and Facebook, which plunged in March and April. The Russell 2000, an index composed of small companies, climbed the most in two months.
Investors have been more cautious this year than last. They've favored big, less volatile stocks that pay rich dividends because of concerns about the outlook for the economy. Utility and energy companies have been among the beneficiaries of this trend and have outperformed...