Despite a brief uptick in oil, which jumped to more than $59 a barrel Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average kept up its steep ascent to record gains.
The Dow closed Friday up 0.1 percent to 11,960.51 — a new high. For the week, the index is up 0.8 percent. The S&P 500 wrapped the week slightly up, rising 0.1 percent to 1,365.62 while the WWD Composite Stock Index rose a solid 2 percent to 1,187.73.
Bolstering Wall Street confidence last week was an upbeat economic outlook from the Federal Reserve. As a result, some analysts and fund managers expect the Dow — along with other major indices — to continue on a steady incline.
Meanwhile, a recent report shows consumer confidence rising significantly. BIGresearch's October Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey showed higher confidence thanks to declining fuel prices over the past four weeks. "Of the 7,623 consumers who participated in the survey, almost half [49.9 percent] said they were confident/very confident in chances for a strong economy in the next six months, which is up from 43.4 percent in September," the research firm said in its report.
"Consumers are registering greater confidence in the economy," said Joe Pilotta, vice president of Research for BIGresearch. "This usually translates into greater spending for the holidays."
The firm said in a statement that the impact of gas prices "are also lower as more consumers are saying fluctuating gas prices are having no major impact on their spending….Consumers are also anticipating lower pump prices at Thanksgiving than they previously expected in September. This month consumers anticipate the price of a gallon of gas will be $2.55 by Turkey Day, which is almost 30 cents less than last month when they anticipated the price to be $2.84 a gallon."
But don't clink the champagne glasses yet. Not everyone is feeling as upbeat as consumers. The Chief Executives' Confidence Measure, compiled by the Conference Board, dropped to 44 in the third quarter, which is off a decline of 50 in the second quarter. Readings higher than 50 points show more positive responses than negative ones. The drop to 44 is the first time the index has fallen below 50 in nearly five years, according to the Conference Board.Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said, "The lack of confidence expressed by [chief executives] is a result of the recent slowdown in economic growth, combined with expectations that this lackluster pace of growth will carry over into the beginning months of 2007."
Of the ceo's polled, "only 16 percent claim the current economic environment is better, down from about 27 percent in the second quarter," the board said.
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