Stocks sharply higher…Trading floor reopens…Consumer confidence inches higher
NEW YORK (AP) – Wall Street is sharply higher as hopes for economic recovery overshadow worries over the coronavirus pandemic. The S&P 500 jumped to a nearly 3-month high, recovering much of its post-pandemic losses. Investors are shifting their focus to how various nations are adapting to getting back to business, while striving to keep new COVID-19 cases in check. Reassuring comments by the head of China’s central bank also helped spur buying. Benchmarks in Paris, London and Tokyo also gained.
NEW YORK (AP) – The trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange is reopening for the first time in two months, but it doesn’t look – or sound – the same. The floor, known for the chaotic proximity of traders shouting orders over one another, has been closed since mid-March due to the coronavirus outbreak. Fewer traders will be on the floor in order to support six-feet social distancing requirements. They also must wear masks, so no “verbal interest” orders will be allowed. Anyone entering the Exchange is also being asked to avoid public transportation and will have their temperature taken before entry.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. consumer confidence inched up this month, showing signs of stabilizing, but remains near a six-year low in the face of the widespread business shutdowns that have sent the economy into recession. The Conference Board says its confidence index ticked up to a reading of 86.6 in May from 85.7 in April. The index, which reflects consumers’ assessment of present conditions and expectations about the future, had plummeted during the previous two months. The coronavirus pandemic has forced businesses across the country to close, stifling consumer spending, which drives about 70% of all economic activity in the United States.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. home prices accelerated in March even though sales plummeted, as those Americans still buying bid for a sharply diminished supply of homes. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 3.9% in March, the largest gain in more than a year, up from 3.5% in February.
BALTIMORE (AP) – U.S. new home sales ticked up 0.6% in April, a surprising gain amid the coronavirus outbreak that hints at the relative health of many consumers. The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that sales of new single-family homes rose slightly to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 623,000 last month. This followed a decline of 13.7% in March. Over the past 12 months, sales are down 6.2%.