May 15 - Summary of business headlines: Stocks shake-off early drop to close at new lifetime highs; Macy's results are latest signal payroll tax fallout limited; Google trades above $900 - launches streaming music service; Euro-zone recession hits record duration. Conway G. Gittens reports.
It's the rally that won't die. The Dow and S&P 500 set new historic highs and the Nasdaq gained 9 points. The S&P 500 has reached a lifetime peak in 9 of the last 10 sessions, bringing the year-to-date rally to more than 16 percent. This stock market ascent has basically gone on without a major challenge, which is causing many investors to doubt the validity and its staying power, that's what Fred Dickson of D.A. Davidson notices in his conversation with market players. SOUNDBITE: FRED DICKSON, CHIEF INVESTMENT STRATEGIST, D.A. DAVIDSON (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It isn't a wall of worry, but it is a sense of disbelief that gee - 'well someday somebody will wake up and say that we really need stronger economics to support the momentum that we have now and if we do let's just, let's just tip-toe very lightly.' The volume data in the market says that the commitments are tip-toe commitments, not full-scale enthusiastic plunges." Retailers were in focus. Sales and profits were up at Macy's and the company is raising its dividend. There were concerns heading into Macy's results that unseasonable temperatures and consumers grappling with higher taxes could lead to a disappointment. Shares of Macy's climbed to an all-time high. Google is launching a streaming music subscription service, beating Apple to the party. Users can listen to unlimited music for less than 10 bucks a month. Shares of Google cracked $900 a share for the first time in history, taking the company's market value to almost $304 billion. Looking at competitors like Pandora - that stock was down. And possible soon-to-be competitors Apple and Amazon - both down as well. On the economic front: industrial production dropped sharply in April and wholesale prices rolled back by their widest measure in three years. Meanwhile, the 17-nation euro zone is in the grips of its longest recession since records going back to 1995. Stocks in Germany, France and the UK - each staged modest rallies.