Dow Closes at Five-Year High (Bloomberg)
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at its highest point since 2007, thanks to rallying stocks. A jump in housing starts and drop in jobless claims triggered both a rise in commodities and optimism in the U.S. economy. “We’re getting signs that both housing and the labor market are improving,” said Paul Zemsky, the New York-based head of asset allocation for ING Investment Management. “Housing, in particular, is a huge number. It’s positive for the economy, it’s positive for earnings and for the stock market.”
Citi Blames New Regulations for Earnings Shortfall (CNBC)
Citigroup’s new CEO Michael Corbat cited the “challenging” environment caused by increased regulatory pressures and legal cossts while discussing how the company badly missed its Q4 earnings estimates. “Our bottom line earnings reflect an environment that remains challenging- with businesses working through issues like spread compression and regulatory changes – as well as the costs of putting legacy issues behind us,” Corbat said in a statement.
Spain Debt Aids Euro, Dollar Falls (MarketWatch)
Today the U.S. dollar slipped, and high demand for Spanish debt eased worries regarding the eurozone. “Someone, somewhere seems to be happy to hold Spanish debt,” said Kathleen Brooks, research director at Forex.com. “The markets are optimistic that the future will brighten up for Spain and other peripherals and growth will pick up later this year.”