Top News as reported by Associated Press:
TV shows were replaced by the hiss of static in perhaps 1 million U.S. homes Friday as stations ended their analog broadcasts and abandoned the transmission technology in use for decades.
The vast majority of households that rely on antennas for their TV signals were prepared for the shutdown, but many people remained vexed by the challenge of setting up digital reception.
Historic anti-smoking legislation sped to final congressional passage on Friday -- after a bitter fight lasting nearly a half-century -- and lawmakers and the White House quickly declared it would save the lives of thousands of smokers of all ages. Even more important, they said, the measure could keep countless young people from starting in the first place.
President Barack Obama, admittedly still struggling with his own nicotine habit, saluted passage of the bill, which he will soon sign.
Specifically, the measure for the first time will give the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate what goes into tobacco products, demand changes or elimination of toxic substances and block the introduction of new products.
Gas prices rose Friday for the 45th consecutive day as summer travelers hit the highways and refineries hold back on fuel production.
Pump prices added less than a penny overnight to a new national average of $2.639 a gallon, according to auto club AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service.
Gas is 37.2 cents a gallon more expensive than last month. Yet prices have risen all year after slumping to around $1.60 in December.
Crude prices are surging as well, but not as consistently as gasoline.
Under withering criticism in Congress, General Motors and Chrysler executives on Friday called the closings of hundreds of dealerships painful steps needed to right-size the auto giants. Down-on-their luck dealers said the moves would needlessly devastate their local economies and livelihoods.
GM CEO Fritz Henderson told the House Energy and Commerce Committee's oversight and investigations subcommittee the dealer cuts were "quite painful" but necessary to save over 200,000 jobs at GM's remaining dealers. Chrysler Deputy CEO Jim Press said the cuts were part of the shared sacrifices by the United Auto Workers union, bondholders and others needed to avoid liquidation.
The Energy Department is moving forward on a futuristic coal-burning power plant in Illinois that the Bush administration had declared dead.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Friday that reviving the FutureGen plant is an important step that shows the Obama administration's commitment to carbon-capture technology.
The Energy Department will commit more than $1 billion to the project, under the agreement announced on Friday, with the government's contribution drawn almost entirely from federal economic stimulus funds.
GlaxoSmithKline said Thursday after the World Health Organization declared a global flu epidemic that it would be ready within weeks to begin large-scale vaccine production. Sanofi-Aventis also said it had started working on its own version. On Friday, Swiss pharma giant Novartis announced it had created an experimental vaccine that has not been tested in people. Novartis' vaccine was made via a cell-based technology that may prove faster than the traditional way of making vaccines, which relies on chicken eggs.
WHO and others estimate that about 2.4 billion doses of pandemic vaccine could be available in about a year.
China's retail sales, bank lending and industrial output grew in May as the government spent heavily on a stimulus to boost the world's third-largest economy as exports plunged, data showed Friday.
The latest report, on top of figures Thursday showing May investment rising, suggested the stimulus spending was helping to make up for a collapse in demand for exports that wiped out millions of Chinese factory jobs.
Retail sales rose 15.2 percent in May from a year earlier, up from April's 14.8 percent growth, the National Bureau of Statistics reported. Industrial output rose 8.9 percent, rebounding from April's lackluster 7.3 percent and exceeding March's 8.3 percent rate.
Now take a look at the chart of the CBOE Volatility Index or VIX below:
The CBOE Volatility Index reflects investor sentiment and is typically seen as investors' fear gauge. VIX moves in inverse direction to the overall stockmarket i.e. when investors' fear level rises, VIX rises and stockmarket falls and vice versa.
VIX rose to historically unseen levels in October 2008 when it reached high 80s but since then has been downtrending and is now at more normal level just below 30. So investors are feeling a lot calmer about the U.S. and global economy in general and about the state of the stockmarket.
Investors are expecting some form of a recovery at the end of the year and this has caused a huge rally that has lasted for the previous three months.
At present, VIX is at 28.15 and is below both its 20 and 40 day moving average, which is bearish for VIX.
The ADX is below 20 which shows that VIX is trading within a range and is not in an uptrend or downtrend.
MACD is at -1.577 which is just below 0 and so is close to neutral i.e. it is neutral and neither bullish or bearish for VIX.
Slow Stochastic is at 33.826 which is close to the low threshold of 20, this means that there is a greater possibility of VIX rising rather than falling during this week. However since VIX is still below its moving averages any move upwards for VIX will not be with strong momentum. Investor sentiment remains neutral to calm at the moment.
Please take a look at the chart of the S&P 500 Index below:
The S&P 500 Index is stagnant around the 950 level but has crucially stayed above the 200 moving day average which is a significant level observed by all serious traders. This is bullish for the market.
The index is above its 20 and 40 day moving averages, which is bullish for the index.
ADX is about 23 which means that the index and the overall stockmarket is trading within a range and is neither in a strong uptrend or downtrend.
MACD is at 17 which is positive and bullish for the index.
Slow Stochastic is at 60 which is near midway between its high and low thresholds and thus this is neutral for the index. This means that the index could either go up or down this week or remain around the 950 level.
These indicators are indicating that the market has stayed resilient and staying above the crucial level indicated by the 200 day moving average. Investors are feeling calmer and are still cautiously optimistic about stocks and the pending economic recovery.
However whether the rally can continue will depend on what investors think about rising energy prices and rising interest rates. If investors think that these costs will impede on the potential economic recovery, then the stockmarket could change course and move downwards. However, if investors think that despite these costs, economic recovery will still be possible, then the market could continue to move upwards.
Overall, investor sentiment still seem to be cautiously bullish about stocks and the economy in general. Whether, the market will continue to be resilient during this week will depend on investor sentiment in the face of new data or news.
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To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson