Could the stock market climb higher? Record highs Monday were followed by predictions of still higher numbers. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart missed sales and revenue expectations in the first quarter. Here are the big news stories for May 19, 2015.
Could Market Climb Higher?
On Monday, both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 set record highs as investors shook off concerns about the debt issue in Greece. One observer said the Dow Jones could eventually reach 20,000. The Dow Jones closed Monday at 18,288.63, its fifth record high of the year. The S&P 500 closed at a record for the third day in a row at 2,125.92.
Federal vehicle safety regulators are looking at Nissan Versa cars after receiving complaints about fractures in the front suspension coil spring. The investigation involves about 130,000 Nissan Versas. Some Versa owners have reported the fractures could lead to tire puncture or brake line damage while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says such failures can occur without warning and can happen at any speed. No fatalities have been reported due to the failures at this point. A preliminary investigation is the first step in a process that can lead to a recall if necessary.
The President Tweets
Using an official Twitter address, President Barack Obama sent out his first tweet Monday and in record time had more than one million followers. It took just 25 minutes for the new account - @POTUS – to receive more than 103,000 followers, and in less than six hours, he reached one million. That beat the previous record set by Robert Downey Junior, who required more than 20 hours to get one million followers. Some of his followers tweeted back, including former President Bill Clinton, who asked if the Twitter address could be used by the next president. “Just asking for a friend,’’ Clinton joked.
Starbucks, Spotify Team Up
Coffee chain Starbucks is teaming up with music streaming service Spotify to provide customers access to exclusive musical content. Starbucks said its loyalty members will gain access to Starbucks music on Spotify and have input into the store’s playlists. The partnership will begin in the United States this fall and will then move on to Canada and the United Kingdom. In addition, Starbucks employees will receive a Spotify Premium subscription. Starbucks has approximately 10 million loyalty members while Spotify has about 60 million users worldwide.
Housing Starts Jump
The Commerce Department Tuesday said U.S. housing starts climbed to their highest level in more than seven years in April, and permit requests soared as well, suggesting the economy has reached the point where it is no longer struggling. Groundbreaking increased 20.2 percent to an annual pace of 1.14 million units, the highest since November of 2007. The increase was the largest jump since February of 1991. Permits for future home construction increased 10.1 percent to the highest rate since June of 2008.
Wal-Mart Misses Mark
Wal-Mart’s quarterly results fell short of analysts’ expectations Tuesday, and the strong dollar was blamed. The company reported a 1.1 percent rise in same-store sales in the United States in the first quarter, missing the consensus of an increase of 1.5 percent. Wal-Mart has turned in three consecutive quarters of positive earnings, however, which the company sees as a possible. Wal-Mart had first-quarter earnings of $1.03 per share, down from the $1.10 per share one year ago. Wal-Mart said the stronger dollar impacted earnings by about 3 cents per share.