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A split stock market; Fatter paychecks this year? Waiting on a retail rebound

Dean Arrindell
Hot Stock Minute

A two-way stock market has many investors confused. The Dow managed to squeeze out another record on Friday at 16,583.34. Meanwhile, the Russell 2000 index of small caps was down nearly 10% as of Friday’s close from its all-time high of 1,212.82, hit on March 3.

Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Aaron Task said, “It’s absolutely a concern.” He said it would be “unique and unusual” for the broader markets to hold up with the selling that’s occurring in smaller stocks. “There’s been hardcore selling in a lot of names; we just don’t see it when you look at the major averages.”

One of the stocks the Yahoo Finance team will be watching for you today is Pinnacle Foods (PF). Hillshire Brands (HSH) is buying the maker of Duncan Hines and Birds Eye frozen foods for $6.6 billion in stock, cash and debt. That's an 18% premium to Pinnacle's Friday closing price of $30.45. The combined company will keep the Hillshire name and be based in Chicago.

Retail will be a focus this week. Macy's (M), Wal-Mart (WMT) and J.C. Penney (JCP) will report earnings this week. And the Commerce Department will repot retail sales for April.

“The consumer is out there shopping because job growth has been good,” Task said. However, he was cautious about how much Americans are earning and spending. “I think we have a situation where more Americans are working, but the wages they’re making aren’t very strong.”

Which brings us to a survey on jobs. According to a USA Today survey a majority of economists they surveyed said wage growth will accelerate in 2014. Of those surveyed, 73% of the analysts said wage growth will increase this year. One analyst said wages could increase by 3%.

In our poll today, we want to know: Have you seen an increase in your wages this year? Cast your votes and posts your comments below.