Stocks went up after a rare dose of good news about the U.S. economy yesterday. The National Association of Realtors said Americans signed more contracts to buy previously occupied homes in May. And the government reported that businesses placed more orders for long-lasting manufactured goods in May. The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 92 points at 12,627. The S&P 500 index added 12 to 1,331. The Nasdaq gained 21 to 2,875. Futures trading suggests a mixed open.
- International stock markets mostly sank today as European leaders prepared for yet another powwow in Brussels to discuss how to tame a spiraling debt crisis. A few Asian markets posted gains after positive housing and manufacturing reports out of the U.S. yesterday. Benchmark crude oil fell to below $80 per barrel. The dollar rose against the euro and fell against the yen.
- Traders will no doubt be waiting for several announcements out of Washington today. The Commerce Department will report on the first-quarter gross domestic product this morning, and the Labor Department will release weekly jobless claims. Freddie Mac has its weekly update on mortgage rates. And the Supreme Court is expected to make its ruling today on the health care law.
- European leaders gathering today in Brussels are set to sign off on a series of measures to boost economic growth but expectations of a breakthrough on the pooling of debt have fallen by the wayside. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has resolutely opposed the issuing of mutual debt, is the woman to watch - or fear, or confront - at the two-day summit. Many leaders have backed the idea of Eurobonds but Merkel has been reluctant to expose her country to new potential costs.
- Congressional leaders are aiming for final passage by week's end of legislation reshaping federal transportation programs and preventing a doubling of interest rates for millions of new student loans. Without action by Saturday, federal authority to conduct road, mass transit and other transportation programs would end, along with the government's ability to collect gasoline and diesel taxes that fund most of those programs.
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