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  • Asian shares firm as U.S. stocks hit records; RBA in focus
    The U.S. dollar hovered close to an 11-year high against a basket of currencies while Asian shares firmed in early trade on Tuesday, with sentiment bolstered by another record day on Wall Street. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was nearly flat, while Japan's Nikkei stock average (.N225) was up about 0.4 percent after the yen pushed to three-week lows against the greenback. On Wall Street on Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average (.DJI) and the S&P 500 (.SPX) both posted fresh record closing highs, while the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) broke 5,000 for the first time in 15 years.
  • Weak U.S. consumer spending points to slower first-quarter growth
    All the gas savings are ending up at the bank rather than being spent," Thomas Costerg, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank in New York. Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, slipped 0.2 percent after falling 0.3 percent in December. The January dip reflected lower gasoline prices, which weighed on sales receipts at service stations, as well as drop in purchases of big-ticket items. With lower gasoline prices dampening inflation pressures, the so-called real consumer spending increased 0.3 percent after slipping 0.1 percent in December.
  • What would the Dow look like if it included Apple?
    It may be by far the most valuable American company but Apple Inc still can’t get into at least one exclusive club – the 30-member Dow Jones Industrial Average. It is, though, hurting those who tie their investments to the performance of the venerable Dow, which was first calculated in 1896 and is still probably the best-known stock index in the world. Since Apple split its shares seven-for-one last June 6, it’s delivered investors a gain of more than 43 percent including dividend payments, and that has contributed almost one third of the Nasdaq 100’s return of 18.6 percent, according to ETF.com. Had Apple been substituted for 29 of the 30 Dow components last June, the index would have been higher.

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