This relentless bull market inched closer to its all-time high despite a horrible reading on consumer confidence.
First the scoreboard:
Dow: 14,559, +111.9 pts, +0.7 percent
S&P 500: 1,563, +12.0 pts, +0.7 percent
NASDAQ: 3,252, +17.1 pts, +0.5 percent
And now the top stories:
- The Dow resumed its rally and closed at a new all-time record high. The S&P 500 ended just two points away from its all-time high of 1,565.15.
- The consumer confidence report was worrisome. The headline number plunged to 59.7 from 68.0 a month ago. Economists were looking for a reading of 67.5. "This month’s retreat was driven primarily by a sharp decline in expectations, although consumers were also more pessimistic in their assessment of current conditions," said Lynn Franco of the Conference Board. "The recent sequester has created uncertainty regarding the economic outlook and as a result, consumers are less confident."
- The February durable goods orders report reflected month-to-month volatility as expected. Total orders jumped 5.7 percent, which was much stronger than the 3.9 percent expected. Nondefense capital goods orders excluding aircraft and parts — aka core capex — however, declined 2.7 percent, versus expectations of a drop of only 1.1 percent. Core capex is a key indicator of business investment activity. "Smoothing through the monthly volatility in core capex orders, the trend is solidly upward," said UBS's Kevin Cummins. "In the first two months of Q1, core capex orders have increased at a 31.4% pace, up from the 20.4%q/q annualized rate in Q4."
- According to the S&P/Case-Shiller index, national home prices climbed by 1.02 percent month-over-month in January, which was stronger than the 0.8 percent increase expected by economists.
- In other housing news, new home sales fell by 4.6 percent in February. Economists were looking for a gain of 3.9 percent. Moreover, the median sales price of new homes was $246,800, up from $226,400 the previous month.
- The stock market got a new cheerleader today. Canaccord Genuity's Tony Dwyer cranked up his year end target on the S&P 500 to 1,760, making him the most bullish strategist on Wall Street.
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