Dec. 09 - Summary: Stocks steady on signs of global growth; Treasury exits GM stake with a $10.5 billion loss; U.S. net worth hits a record; American Airlines re-emerges as the world biggest airline; Sysco to buy U.S. Foods. Conway G. Gittens reports.
The global economy is growing and that is no longer leaving Wall Street shaking in its boots. Stocks tacked on small gains following the growth spurt seen at the end of last week. Exports out of China topped forecasts suggesting the world's second largest economy is less shaky than it was, and that comes on the back of better-than-expected hiring in the U.S. last month. Federal Reserve officials on the speaking circuit did little to sway sentiment that the Fed will start slowing bond purchases sometime in the first quarter of next year. General Motors no longer has the U.S. taxpayer as a shareholder. The government sold all of its stake in the automaker - losing about $11 billion on the investment made as part of the controversial bailout. The news came after the close, so it did not impact the stock. Feeling wealthier? Maybe you should. Household net worth hit a record high in America during the third quarter. Rising home prices and a stock market near historic highs sent household wealth to $1.9 trillion, according to the Federal Reserve. But economists warn that wealth is not widespread. It was a long haul but the merger between US Airways and American Airlines is completed. Executives of American Airlines Group marked the creation of the world's largest airline by remotely ringing the Nasdaq opening bell. The occasion also marks the end of American Airlines' trip through bankruptcy. Shares of rivals Delta and United Continental, also created through recent mergers, moved higher. And speaking of higher, food company Sysco surging almost 10 percent after announcing it will buy U.S. Foods for about $3-1/2 billion. Some of the biggest names in tech speaking out against U.S. surveillance tactics. Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL, and Apple - normally fighting among themselves in some fashion - all joining forces to tell the U.S. government: back off when it comes to online spying. Finally, European investors taking notice of the improving global economy with markets there posting slim gains.