May 30 - Summary of business headlines: Stocks climb on Thursday as softer-than-expected economic data scaled back expectations the Federal Reserve will scale back the money printing press. Costco boosted by higher sales, member fees; Dish amps up Sprint fight for Clearwire. Conway G. Gittens reports.
What's mildly negative news is actually mildly positive news on Wall Street when it comes to economic data and second guessing the Fed. The Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq each gaining on the day - but gains fizzled into the close. It's all about the economic sign posts. First-quarter gross domestic product, or GDP, revised to show softer than expected 2.4 percent growth. Secondly, pending home sales for April at a three-year high were not as strong as predicted. And thirdly, first-time benefits for jobless claims rose last week but not enough to shake confidence or alter Fed policy. Yelena Shulyatyeva of BNP Paribas: SOUNDBITE: YELENA SHULYATYEVA, U.S. ECONOMIST, BNP PARIBAS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We think that the pace of payrolls will not be enough for them to start tapering at their September meeting and it will only gradually improve towards the 200,000 pace by the end of the year, the second-half of the year, which will allow them to taper purchases somewhere in December, towards the end of the year." We get a retail update from Costco. Profits at the warehouse retailer surged 20 percent with sales up 8 percent to almost $24 billion. Low prices are still big business for Costo, which also took in over half a billion dollars in membership fees. Clearwire shareholders may have to wait to cast their vote on an offer from Sprint. At least two sources say a planned vote for Friday is likely to be postponed. That's because Dish Network refuses to give up, putting a new bid on the table that values Clearwire at $6-1/2 billion, trumping Sprint's offer. This four-way saga shows no signs of dying down as Dish and Sprint go after Clearwire, and Dish and Japan's SoftBank go after Sprint. Looking at market reaction: shares of Clearwire, Dish and Sprint - all up on the day. In Europe, an Italian prosecutor wants to change the wardrobe of fashion designers Dolce and Gabbana to stripes - as in jail stripes. The two are accused of selling brands to a shell company in Luxembourg, in order to avoid paying Italian taxes on some $1.3 billion in royalties. Italy has one of the highest tax rates in the world. The two denied charges in what is a rare high-profile tax evasion case to make it to the courts. As for the markets - there were modest gains in Germany, France and the U.K.