Stocks closed the day with modest gains ahead of the long holiday weekend.
The Dow was up+38.97 at 12441.73, Nasdaq up +13.94 at 2796.86 and S&P 500 up +5.42 at 1331.11.
The S&P 500 closed up 0.4% ahead of the long holiday weekend. It was a quiet afternoon, but this morning, stocks shrugged off a mixed batch of data to put in modest gains during the first half of the session. Participants digested news that during April consumer spending increased by 0.4% while incomes increased by 0.4%. Both were on level with what had been expected. The final Consumer Sentiment Survey for May from the University of Michigan came in at 74.3, which is better than what had been expected. Pending home sales for April plummeted a much sharper-than-expected 11.6%.
Materials stocks were the strongest sector today, helped by strength by metals and mining plays. Financial’s also caught a nice bid, with bank stocks bouncing following positive analyst commentary on many European banks and a proposal in Basel III for more favorable requirements for banks. Health care stocks and utilities were laggards. Medco Health Solutions (MHS 58.66, -5.78) has been a heavy drag on the health care space amid news that the company lost a contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield to CVS (CVS 38.80, +0.65).
NOTE: U.S. markets will be closed on Monday in observance of Memorial Day.