S&P continues climb

Data shows an increase in manufacturing and existing-home sales while jobless claims rose.

Williams-Sonoma Inc. added 7.8 percent after boosting its earnings forecast for the year. Hess Corp. jumped 1.7 percent after agreeing to sell its gasoline stations and retail business to Marathon Petroleum Corp. Sears Holdings Corp. lost 4.2 percent as quarterly sales slid.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (CME:SPM14) rose less than 0.1 percent to 1,888.31 at 10:09 a.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 3.57 points, or less than 0.1 percent, to 16,529.49. The Russell 2000 Index of smaller companies increased 0.3 percent.

“There has been lots of individual stock volatility, but on the whole, not much impact on the market,” Todd Salamone, senior vice president of research at Schaeffer’s Investment Research, said via phone from Cincinnati. “To the extent there hasn’t been any huge surprises in the data could create a trading range as well.”

The S&P 500 climbed 0.8 percent yesterday, erasing the previous day’s declines, as Federal Reserve policy makers said continued stimulus doesn’t risk fueling a jump in the inflation rate. Central bank policy makers said last month the economy is showing signs of picking up and the job market is improving. The central bank pared its monthly asset buying to $45 billion in April, its fourth straight $10 billion cut, and said further reductions in measured steps are likely.

Three rounds of bond purchases by the Fed have helped send the S&P 500 up as much as 180 percent from a 12-year low in 2009. The benchmark index is about 0.5 percent below an all-time high of 1,897.45 reached last week.

The Markit Economics preliminary index of U.S. manufacturing increased to 56.2 in May from 55.4 a month earlier as output accelerated, the London-based group said today. Readings above 50 for the purchasing managers’ measure indicate expansion and the May figure was the highest in three months. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 21 economists was 55.5.

A preliminary purchasing managers’ index in China from HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics increased to 49.7 in May, a five-month high. That exceeded the 48.3 median estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Other data showed sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose in April for the first time in four months as the weather warmed, price increases slowed and more properties were put on the market.

U.S. jobless claims increased by 28,000 to 326,000 in the week ended May 17, after 298,000 filings a week earlier that were higher than initially reported, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 50 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a rise to 310,000.

 

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