April 30 - Summary: The Dow settled at its highest close on record as the Federal Reserve stays on track with reducing its bond buying program and the economy bounces back from slow growth in the first quarter. Conway G. Gittens reports.
The Federal Reserve is on autopilot. Policymakers did not stray from expectations that they would cut bond purchases by $10 billion at each meeting. Not even a report showing the U.S. economy grew at just 0.1 percent in the first quarter- the weakest reading in over a year - shook the Fed's confidence that this economy needs less stimulus. Economists say there are signs pointing to an economy that's nowhere as weak as the data suggest. Liz Miller of Summit Place Financial Advisors: SOUNDBITE: LIZ MILLER, STRATEGIST, SUMMIT PLACE FINANCIAL ADVISORS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We're already through earnings season and the reason why that's important is we've heard from all the corporations and they did not report earnings of an economy that was up point-one percent. We know what the business activity really was." And there's more evidence: Private employers added 220,000 jobs last month, according to better-than expected data from payroll processor ADP. That's the strongest pace of private job creation in five months. Meanwhile, business activity in the Midwest grew at its fastest pace in six months. Investors, comforted by a steady hand at the Fed and upbeat data, pushing the Dow to a record close. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq closed higher as well. John Calamos of Calamos Investments says today the numbers were good, but tomorrow they could be less good. SOUNDBITE: JOHN CALAMOS, GLOBAL CO-CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER, CALAMOS INVESTMENTS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Investors need to look a little bit longer term than next week and every number and I think we will be in a volatile period in here but you have to look through the near-term volatility. We're more positive on that. We think that growth equities in this area are still very attractive in here, maybe not high momentum ones." Speaking of high momentum stocks - Twitter taking a beating one day after posting subscriber numbers that were not as strong as hoped. Shares of Twitter falling 9 percent to their lowest close since the November IPO. General Electric says it is confident in its $16.9 billion offer for Alstom after "productive" meetings with the French government and despite Siemens interest in the French engineering group. GE and Alstom continue to move higher. Higher was the direction for stocks in Germany and the U.K., but France was left out.