US markets were flat today, as info showed inflation stayed in control last month as the domestic economy continues to get better but consumer sentiment slipped.
The Michigan University initial reading on the index on sentiment slid to 74.3 from 75.3 last month, economists had forecast a gain to 76.0 as climbing energy costs pushed inflation expectancies higher for next year. The Labor Dept announced its CPI rose 0.4 % last month after rising 0.2 % in the first month of the year, in-line with expectancies, while inflation pressure, excluding food and energy, stayed subdued.
The S&P 500 closed above 1,400 for the 1st time since the 2008 financial collapse. The index is up 11.6% for the year supported by strong economic data, with no negative news to cause a pullback. The rise is supported by numerous factors. Credit Suisse analyst Andrew Garthwaite raised his target for the S&P to 1,470 from 1,400, noting
equities are now 9% above their 180 day moving average, but when this has occurred, shares have sometimes raised by 7% over the following 6 months.
Many investors worry that stocks might be ready for a pullback as the CBOE Volatility index remains near lows not seen since 2007. “You need to be careful because it’s possible to get lured into complacency, and that’s beginning to occur now, it’s how much is the market going to move up,” was one quote.
This week marks the quarterly expiration and settlement of March equity futures and options, an event named “quadruple witching,” which could increase volume and volatility. The Federal Reserve asserted that industrial production was unvaried in Feb as a drop in mining output offset a 3rd straight monthly gain in factory production.
The Dow gained 3.59 points, or 0.03 % to 13,256.35. The Standard & Poor’s gained 0.63 points, to trade at 1,403.23. The NASDAQ dropped 3.22 points, or 0.11 %, to 3,053.15. Apple dipped 0.9%to $580.15 as its new iPad proved to be another hot-seller on Friday , with hundreds lining up at stores across Japan to be first to get their hands on the tablet PC.
Several banks, including Goldman Sachs Group, have shown an abiding interest in buying American International Group Inc’s assets tied to the insurer’s rescue, the WSJ reported. AIG added 0.7 % to $28.27 while Goldman Sachs dipped 1.1 % to $121.76.