The Standard & Poor's 500 index is showing strength, but will it continue this week? On Friday, the S&P closed above 1,500 for the first time since the start of the Great Recession in 2007. It was up eight points, or half a percent for its eighth straight gain. The Dow closed at 13,895.98, up nearly 71 points on Friday. The Nasdaq gained 19 points. Futures trading doesn't indicate any dram on Wall Street this morning.
- International stock markets drifted today as investors awaited the release of key data this week for a clearer picture of the strength of the U.S. economic recovery. Asian markets posted slight gains while European stocks barely budged in early trading. Benchmark crude oil fell below $96 per barrel. The dollar gained against the euro and fell against the yen.
- The Commerce Department today will report on durable goods for December. Also, the National Association of Realtors releases the pending home sales index for December. Also today, Caterpillar and Yahoo will release their quarterly financial results.
- Economists say their optimism is increasing, cautiously, about growth in the year ahead with hiring expected to pick up in coming months. A quarterly survey by the National Association for Business Economists released today shows half of the economists polled now expect real gross domestic product to grow between 2 and 4 percent this year.
- Anticipating a boost from stimulus spending and a weakening yen, Japan's government has raised its growth forecast, predicting the economy will emerge from recession and expand 2.5 percent in the coming fiscal year. The yen has dropped more than 10 percent in recent months. Share prices have surged in anticipation that higher stimulus spending will boost economic activity, and that the weaker yen will aid exporters.