U.S. stocks edge lower, on track for modest monthly gains

U.S. stocks struggled to hold opening gains on Tuesday, turning lower as investors assessed the implications of stronger-than-expected economic reports.

Consumer spending in April increased by the biggest amount in nearly seven years while home prices in March jumped.

The upbeat data came after Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said Friday that an interest-rate rise in the coming months is probably appropriate.

The main U.S. stock indexes are on track to end the month modestly higher, posting gains for the third consecutive month.

The S&P 500 was down 2 points, or 0.1%, to 2,097, with seven of the 10 main sectors trading lower. Consumer staples and materials stocks were leading the losses, while utilities and telecoms were higher.

Source : Market Watch

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Japanese Stocks Advance After Aso Says Sales Tax Delay Likely

Japanese stocks rose as a weakening yen spurred gains for exporters and the nation’s finance minister said the government would probably delay a planned sales tax hike.

The Topix index added 1 percent to 1,379.80 at the close in Tokyo, its highest level this month and capping a 2.9 percent increase in May. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average climbed 1 percent to 17,234.98. The yen reversed a gain of as much as 0.3 percent to decline 0.1 percent, following a 1.2 percent drop over the previous two days.

Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Tuesday that weakness in private consumption means that now isn’t the time to raise the sales tax, which is planned for April next year. His comments echo Hakubun Shimomura, an aide to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who said on Sunday that the levy needs to be delayed until late 2019 to sustain an economic recovery. Abe is also planning to propose a fiscal stimulus package of as much as 10 trillion yen ($ 90 billion), the Nikkei newspaper reported on Monday.

Source : Bloomberg

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U.S. Stocks Fluctuate Amid Spending Data, Interest-Rate Outlook

U.S. stocks were little changed, with the S&P 500 on the verge of a third straight monthly gain, as stronger data buttress the case for higher interest rates.

The S&P 500 rose 0.1 percent to 2,101.48 at 9:32 a.m. in New York, after its best week since March. U.S. markets were closed on Monday for the Memorial Day holiday.

The S&P 500 was up 1.6 percent in May through Friday and poised for the longest monthly winning streak in almost two years. Gains last week in technology shares, bolstered by Apple Inc.’s best five days since March, sent the benchmark toward a six-month high and rejuvenated a rally that had lost momentum in late April after the benchmark reached its highest since Dec. 1. The index closed Friday up 2.7 percent in 2016, with most of the climb coming last week.

Policy makers and investors are scouring data for confirmation that the economy is strengthening enough to shoulder higher rates. A report today showed consumer spending climbed in April by the most in almost seven years, while a gauge on consumer confidence is also on tap. Key payroll figures are due Friday. As well, the European Central Bank gathers on Thursday and will release updated economic forecasts. OPEC also meets the same day to discuss oil production policy.

Source: Bloomberg

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