DAVID K. RANDALL
NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ That screeching sound you heard in May? That was the stock market.
While the month ended with four days of gains in most of the indexes, concerns about high gas prices, tornadoes and flooding in the South, the post-natural disaster slowdown in Japan and the debt crisis in Europe sent the Standard and Poor's 500 stock index down 1.4 percent in May. That decline followed a 2.85 percent increase in April, which followed gains that set the fastest pace in the first quarter since 1998. Before this month, stocks were boosted by higher corporate earnings, increased business spending and a global economic expansion.
May was the first down month for the S&P since August 2010.Other risky assets also saw declines in May, following a year of increases. The prices of commodities like oil, cattle and coffee fell by an average of 7 percent. Meanwhile, Treasury bond prices, which tend to rise when investors fear that the economy is slowing, rose to near their highest level of the year. For Tuesday, the stock market ended higher, on signs that Germany might drop its demands for an early rescheduling of Greek bonds, paving the way for a deal that could prevent Greece from defaulting on its debt. The S&P index gained 14.10, or 1.1 percent, to 1,345.20. The Dow Jones industrial average added 128.21, or 1 percent, to 12,569.79. And the Nasdaq composite rose 38.44, or 1.4 percent, to 2,835.30. These gains came in spite of another grim report on the U.S. housing market. Home prices in in 12 of the 20 cities tracked by the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index dropped in March to the lowest levels since the housing bubble popped in 2006. "Home prices continue on their downward spiral with no relief in sight," said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Indices.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV