Stocks finished higher, lead by gains from the Nasdaq, but were still little changed from yesterday's close, keeping with the recent pattern of quiet trading. First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 16,808.49, (+27.5), (+0.1%)
- S&P 500: 1,941.99, (+4.2), (+0.2%)
- Nasdaq: 4,337.23, (+16.1), (+0.4%)
And now, the top stories of the day:
- Consumer prices grew 0.4% month-over-month in May, better than the 0.2% increase that was expected. On a year-over-year basis, consumer prices grew 2.1%. Following the report Pantheon Macro's Ian Shepherdson wrote, "In one line: Higher core inflation, coming your way." Shepherdson added that, "The May increase is broad-based — apparel, medical care, airline fares, new autos all up — and primary rents rose 0.3$ for the third straight month. Expect no knee-jerk Fed reaction, but make no mistake: If these emerging trends continue, markets and policymakers will soo be changing their tunes."
- Housing data was disappointing, with housing starts in May falling 6.5% month-over-month, worse than the 3.9% decline that was expected by economists. Building permits also tumbled, falling 6.4% against expectations for a 0.9% decline. Following the report, Cooper Howes at Barclays said the decline in housing starts was broad-based, with declines coming in both the single family and multi-family components. Howes added that, overall, this lowered the firm's second quarter GDP tracking estimate to 2.9% from 3.0%.
- The Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee meeting began today, with the FOMC's latest monetary policy announcement expected for 2:00 pm EST tomorrow. Fed Chair Janet Yellen will hold a 2:30 press conference following the announcement. The FOMC is largely expected to taper its monthly asset purchase program by another $10 billion to $35 billion per month. The FOMC isn't expected to change its interest rate policy.
- Elon Musk's SolarCity gained nearly 20% today after announcing plans to build one of the world's largest high-efficiency solar panel plants after acquiring solar panel manufacturing company Silevo. SolarCity said it plans to base the plant in upstate New York. Elon Musk's other company, Tesla, also got some good news from New Jersey, where the state's Assembly passed a bill that would allow the company to again sell its vehicles in the state.
- Brad Katsuyama — CEO of stock exchange IEX and one of the main subjects of Michael Lewis' latest book "Flash Boys" — appeared on Capitol Hill to testify before lawmakers regarding high frequency trading. Katsuyama said his use of the word "rigged" to describe the stock market gave his critics a reason to shift the conversation. He argued, however, that high frequency trading is worth reigning in because, Katsuyama said, "The market's responsibility, in our view, is to ensure that when a trade happens, the conditions with which the trade happens are fair."
- In yet more mergers and acquisitions news, Oracle is reportedly getting ready to buy Micros Systems for more than $5 billion, according to Bloomberg. The deal would be Oracle's largest since it bought Sun Microsystems for $7.4 billion in 2010.
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