The April employment report and Thursday's late news on bank stress tests will steer Friday's markets.
Stocks pulled off a gain after a turbulent session Wednesday as investors weighed reports that indicated the pace of layoffs is beginning to slow against worries that the rally may be getting ahead of itself.
Stocks opened higher following two reports that showed the pace of layoffs is beginning to slow but soon turned mixed as investors pulled the reins on the rally.
If Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke continues to see those "green shoots" in the economy, stocks could push higher again Tuesday.
After a couple of bearish days, the bulls regained their footing in the shortened trading week. There was plenty of action off the trading floor as well, with a major decision by the Federal Accounting Standards Board, a heartening merger in the housing industry, and some impressive earnings projections from Wells Fargo.
On Wednesday, investors were intriqued to learn that a big merger appears likely in the housing sector. Does it signal the worst is over?
Stocks snapped a two-day slide on Wednesday largely due to optimism about insurance firms and retailers.
Stocks pulled off a gain Wednesday, helped by a late rally, as investors bet on a recovery in some big-name techs.
Cramer ventured a guess during Wednesday's Stop Trading!. Plus, a look at the recession's impact on the booze business. People drink more during hard times, right?
While a recent trickle of good news has some hoping that a housing bottom is on the horizon, investors are playing it safe.
Pulte Homes' purchase of Centex certainly gave volume to the buzz that there is a housing recovery right 'round the corner.
The Pulte bid for Centex appeared to show that the housing industry has a pulse after all; there's been strong speculation about what the minutes from the Fed's last momentous meeting will say; and Alcoa's earnings, though dismal, failed to send Wall Street into a tailspin. The pros generally agreed about the effects of all those things, but there was no consensus at all about how soon things will look better overall.
Stocks wobbled Wednesday as the Treasury denied a report that it might extend TARP funds to some insurers and as earnings worries cast a shadow over the market.
As further proof of what I wrote about yesterday in the New Urge To Merge, today Pulte Homes and Centex agreed to merge.
So earnings season is underway, and the key test will be how the market responds to what is expected to be a concerted attempt to talk down expectations for the rest of the year.
Stocks opened higher Wednesday following news that the U.S. may extend TARP funds to insurers.
In a deal that will create the nation's biggest homebuilder, Pulte Homes is buying Centex for $1.3 billion in stock as both companies try to survive the worst real estate recession in a generation.
The 30-year mortgage rate could fall to nearly 4 percent by the end of the year as both the economy and housing market make a slow recovery, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch said..
US stocks headed for a negative open Wednesday as earnings season got off to a weak start and hopes for a prompt economic turnaround were talked down by some experts.
Cramer explains why the market's pause is right. Plus, calls on the banks, homebuilders and natural gas.