S&P 500 Hits New High; Cold Weather Hurting Springtime Sales; Euro Rises on Italian Government Solution
S&P 500 Hits Another All-Time High (Bloomberg)
Investors were encouraged by a rise in pending home sales and optimism towards continued stimulus plans from central banks, and stocks rose, sending the S&P 500 to yet another all-time peak. “There’s just a positive tone to the market in part because recent lackluster economic trends have reinforced investors belief that the Federal Reserve will continue to press on the gas pedal,” Chad Morganlander, a Florham Park, New Jersey-based fund manager at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., said.
Cold Northeast Weather Hurting Retail Sales (CNBC)
Temperatures in the American Northeast this year have been uncommonly cold, especially compared to 2012′s warmest temperatures in a century, and that unexpected difference has adversely affected retailers in the area. “It is our opinion that the window has been shut on most retailers’ ability to do full-priced spring apparel business. We will still have pressure on the margins even if the weather turns,” said Dan Hess, Merchant Forecast founder & CEO.
Euro up as Italy Ends Uncertainty (Reuters)
Italy’s government finally came into order today, following the country’s recent, messy elections, and the news helped push the euro higher against both the dollar and the yen. However, if the European Central Bank cuts interest rates later this week, as it is expected to do, those gains could be short-lived. “The euro would likely weaken somewhat on that, but the overall move will be muted,” said John Doyle, currency strategist at Tempus Consulting in Washington, D.C. “The expectation is starting to get priced in.”