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Optimism at small U.S. businesses faded in April as inflation became more of a concern, according to a survey released on Tuesday.
The Dow ended at another new high after Alcoa announced a takeover bid for rival Alcan, but the overall indexes closed mixed as Wall Street awaits Wednesday's Fed meeting. "The liquidity and M&A is continuing to drive the market," said Robert Pavlik, chief investment officer at Oaktree Asset Management.
The dollar weakened ahead of three central bank meetings that may underscore market expectations for U.S. interest rates to fall this year as rates in other major economies climb higher.
Gasoline prices have surged to a record nationwide average of $3.07 per gallon, nearly 20 cents higher than two weeks earlier, oil industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday.
Foreign stocks have outpaced the U.S. for the past five years. But analysts say investors can still find good opportunities in select foreign companies and U.S. multinationals that do substantial business overseas.
Stocks wrapped up another record week as potential merger deals pushed the major markets higher. "The market responded very well this week to the raft of mergers and acquisitions announcements and private equity deals," said Quincy Krosby, chief investment strategist at The Hartford.
The dollar fell after a report showed U.S. employment growth in April was the lowest since November 2004, signaling that the U.S. economic slowdown has finally caught up to the labor market.
Frederick Dickson, chief market strategist for D.A. Davidson & Co., told CNBC’s “Closing Bell” that the market’s performance in 2007 is beating expectations -- and it's because of liquidity and upside earnings.
"To sum up next week in one word: bumble," David Buik, marketing director at Cantor Index, told CNBC.com, adding that the strong gains seen in equity markets over the past weeks are likely to slow.
The U.S. economy added a weaker-than-expected 88,000 jobs in April, the slimmest gain in more than two years, as employment fell in retail and manufacturing, and unemployment edged up, a Labor Department showed on Friday.
Asia closes the curtain on five days of sleepy, holiday trading and the week ahead is an outpour of earnings results mixed with key economic data that will push Asian investors back into full alert mode.
Australia's central bank on Friday cut its forecast for underlying inflation this year to 2.5%, right in the middle of its target band and suggesting a much-reduced risk of a rise in interest rates for the next few months.
The dollar rose broadly for the third straight day, its longest rally in two months, after solid U.S. service sector data eased some concerns about the economy ahead of April's payrolls report.
The S&P 500 index closed above the 1,500 level for the first time in nearly seven years but overall gains were modest amid concern the market may be reaching a top. "There is a lot of good news out there but we caution investors that it has been quite a while since a pullback in the stock market," said Alan Skrainka, chief market strategist at Edward Jones. "That concerns us a little bit."
European stocks are once again expected to outperform U.S. ones and may even post gains superior to many of the hottest emerging markets.
The U.S. economy is showing signs of renewed strength, three reports out Thursday indicated. The pace of growth in the U.S. service sector rose in April, while business productivity grew a greater-than-expected 1.7% in the first three months of 2007 and the number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits fell unexpectedly to the lowest level since January.
The dollar edged up in thin trade, briefly brushing a two-month high against the yen, as dealers scaled back bets the greenback would slide ahead of an upcoming report on U.S. job growth in April.
Stocks closed higher and the Dow ended at another record high, buoyed by sharp gains in financial and telecom stocks. "With strong earnings and reasonable valuations, you should expect stocks to go higher," said Ed Keon, chief investment strategist at Prudential. "I think the market represents good value."
As earnings season winds down, analysts are already looking for the next catalysts that will drive the markets. "For all intents and purposes, we are pretty much through with earnings season," said James Maguire, floor broker for Christopher J. Forbes. "Now the focus in the market is going to shift to something else. Among the things we are looking at - certainly, the economic data."
New orders at U.S. factories rose a greater-than-expected 3.1% in March on a rise in civilian aircraft orders, but were also greater for the first time since December when transportation orders were excluded, a Commerce Department report showed on Wednesday.