Futures edge lower after S&P strikes new highs

AP News
Posted: Apr 30, 2013 8:29 AM
Futures edge lower after S&P strikes new highs

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stock futures slipped Tuesday after the Standard & Poor's 500 index closed at an all-time high. Another glimpse into the mind of the all-important American consumer is due early in the day.

Dow Jones industrial futures are down 7 points to 14,741. The broader S&P futures have gave up 1.5 points to 1,586.70. Nasdaq futures fell 0.25 points to 2,858.50.

How Americans feel about their jobs, their homes and their prospects has played out this week in new data from the government.

On Tuesday, The Conference Board releases its report on consumer confidence for April.

Economists expect the private research group to report that Americans overlooked a tax hike to start the year, and are spending more freely as the job and housing markets recover.

Forecasts put the index at 60.7 for April, according to a survey by FactSet. That would be up from 59.7 in March, when across-the-board government spending cuts began taking effect and raised uncertainty about the economy.

The index has lurched higher in fits and starts, but it remains a far cry from the reading of 90 that would suggest a healthy economy.

Incomes are moving in the right direction, and that has given Americans some breathing room as the government takes a bigger cut to reduce a soaring U.S. deficit.

The Commerce Department said Monday that consumer spending rose 0.2 percent in March from February. That followed a 0.7 percent jump in February and a 0.3 percent gain in January.

Consumers play an outsized role in U.S. economic growth, accounting for about 70 percent of all economic activity.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is watching those numbers closely as it kicks off a two-day policy meeting Tuesday, taking yet another look at historically low U.S. interest rates.