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U.S. stocks rise; S&P 500, Dow at record levels for the second straight day

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rose for the fifth consecutive session, and for the second straight day hit all-time record levels at 16,715.4, as it closed 19.97 points higher. The S&P 500 (SPX) finished less than a point higher at 1,897.45, nevertheless, it was another record close, reported MarketWatch.

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This is a continuation of the "Obama Stock Market," as the Dow and the S&P 500 have continued on its meteoric rise. On President Obama's first inauguration day on Jan. 20, 2009, the DJIA was sitting at 7,949.09. It then bottomed on March 9, 2009 at 6,547.05, which at the time was its lowest level since 1997.

Since March 9, the Dow has not looked back, supported by an improving economy, albeit a slow moving but growing economy.

The records were eclipsed in spite of American consumers barely increased spending at retail stores in April, with sales up just 0.1 percent vs. forecasts for 0.4 percent, according to MarketWatch’s Jeff Bartash. But it wasn't all negative, as sales in March were revised up to 1.5 percent from 1.1 percent, marking the biggest gain in four years. February sales were also slightly higher than originally reported.

"Retail sales data were soft, but still pointed to modest signs of improvement in the economy," said Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management. Sandven said that recent rallies in cyclical stocks might signal bottoming or near bottoming of the rotation into defensive stocks.

"We expect cyclicals to outperform from here on and broader markets are likely to move sideways with an upward balance," he added.

In other company news, AT&T Inc. has held advanced talks to acquire DirecTV for about $50 billion. DirecTV and AT&T have discussed an offer of as much as $100 per share, reported Bloomberg.

Keurig Green Mountain climbed 7.6 percent to $119.07, as Coca-Cola has increased its stake in the maker of household coffee machines to 16 percent, three months after acquiring a 10 percent holding. Coca-Cola’s wholly owned subsidiary Atlantic Industries now owns 19.5 million shares in Keurig, according to a regulatory filing.

Sources:

Marketwatch - U.S. stocks rise; S&P 500, Dow at record, Retail sales slow in April; business inventories edge higher

Marketwatch - S&P 500, Dow eke out record closes; Nasdaq loses ground: stock market live blog recap

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