U.S. stocks rise; S&P 500 continues fall

U.S. stocks climbed, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (CME:ESM14) trimming a weekly decline, as data showed consumer spending rose the most in three months.

The S&P 500 added 0.3 percent to 1,854.79 at 9:32 a.m. in New York, trimming its weekly drop to 0.6 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 22.96 points, or 0.1 percent, to 16,287.19 today.

“If consumers go back in and are confident enough to start spending again, that supports earnings and will certainly support the equity market,” Chris Gaffney, senior market strategist at EverBank Financial in St. Louis said by phone.“I feel like we’re forming a base that we can moving high now.”

The S&P 500 fell for the fourth time in five days yesterday, as banks and technology companies declined. The gauge has fallen 0.6 percent this month and is little changed for the quarter.

Investors have been selling the bull market’s biggest winners this week, locking in gains as they assess how much of the recent economic weakness is weather-related and if the situation in Ukraine will worsen.

Data today showed consumer spending in the U.S. rose in February by the most in three months as incomes increased. Americans were shaking off the effects of the coldest winter in four years as they ventured out to shop, supported by a job market that’s also picking up speed.

Data Watch

Reports next week include data on hiring and manufacturing output in March, along with factory orders and construction spending from February.

A report at 9:55 a.m. will probably show that consumer confidence fell less than previously estimated in this month.

“The market action from this week and last week shows that equities seem to be marking time before quarter-end and next week’s economic data,” Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank Wealth Management, which oversees $115 billion, said by phone. “Investors are still taking a wait-and-see attitude. Our thesis is still in tact that the market trends higher.”

U.S. President Barack Obama today urged Russia to pull back troops from Ukraine’s border while Russia dismissed a United Nations resolution on its takeover of Crimea as “counter- productive.”

Some of the biggest losses in the S&P 500 this month have occurred in technology companies. Netflix has fallen 18 percent this month, while Facebook Inc. has lost 17 percent and Twitter Inc. declined 16 percent. Phone stocks have rallied 4.5 percent as a group.

 

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