June 27 - Summary: Wall St extends a recovery as more Fed officials provide clarity on the possible scaling back of extra stimulus and data on housing, labor, and consumers show modest economic growth. Conway G. Gittens reports.
The S&P 500 sprints higher in the best three-day run in at least a year as investors continue to reduce fears of a near-term exit of Federal Reserve easy money policy. Blue chips had their first three-day triple-digit winning streak of 2013. The Nasdaq tacked on roughly another 0.8 percent; extending gains for a third day. It's all about the language. Federal Reserve officials on the speaking circuit are sending a clear message: the Fed will ease up on buying $85 billion in bonds to shore up the economy - but the time is not now and will only happen when data dictate. Fed Governor Jerome Powell was just one of the day's speakers. SOUNDBITE: FEDERAL RESERVE GOVERNOR JEROME POWELL (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I want to emphasize and over-emphasize the importance of data over date. If The Committee's outlook is broadly realized there will likely be a moderation of purchases later this year. If the performance of the economy is weaker, The Committee may delay before moderating purchases or even increase them. And if the economy strengthens faster than The Committee anticipates the pace of purchases may be moderated somewhat more quickly." And for now, the numbers suggest the recovery at least has found some stability. Jobless claims fell more than expected last week as investors gear up for the monthly jobs report due out a week from Friday. Consumer spending jumped in May as incomes saw the biggest rise in three months. And then - there's housing. Pending home sales surged to their best level in 6-1/2 years. But gold prices continue to plunge. Gold futures temporarily dropped below $1200 an ounce, something not done in almost three years. After the close, Nike beat Wall Street's profit and sales targets. Labor strikes may have faded from the headlines but Europeans are still upset about budget cuts. About 3,000 Portuguese marched through the streets of Lisbon, blaming government cutbacks for the country's worst economic slump in about four decades. As for markets - no protest from European buyers - with stocks mostly higher across the board.