Regardless of whether the swine flu outbreak will turn into an alarming pandemic or simply a blip on the radar of infectious diseases, it has monopolized the headlines this week, eclipsing other events, such as the 100-day mark for President Obama and the recent retirement announcement of Justice Souter.
Despite the flu frenzy, investors are breathing somewhat more easily as Wall Street closed the month of April with strong returns for each major index. For the month, the Nasdaq gained 12.3%, the S&P 500 gained 9.4% and the Dow rose 7.3%.
Consumers are also feeling a bit more optimistic as The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index increased, a surprise to economists who thought the index would hold steady. The optimism may be short-lived, however, as the release of the Federal Reserve's "stress tests" -- how big banks would fare if the economy got even worse -- has been delayed until the end of next week.
As the school year winds down along with your Stock Market Game session, now is the time to start thinking about your summer plans.For those new to the program, we encourage you to attend the New York Stock Exchange Teacher Workshop. The NYSE is a great supporter of the SMG program and provides a valuable professional development experience. In the past, participants have had an opportunity to visit with a specialist on the NYSE's trading floor, meet with key NYSE staff members, and discuss with peers how to best integrate an understanding of the securities industry into their daily lessons.