Feb 14 - Summary: The S&P 500 rallies to less than a percent away from record highs; Slowdown in industrial production blamed on weather; Consumer sentiment stalls; Under Armour slips on Olympic controversy. Conway G. Gittens reports.
The S&P 500 clocks in its first two-week winning streak of the year, bringing the benchmark less than one percent away from an all-time high. Keith Bliss is senior vice president at Cuttone. SOUNDBITE: KEITH BLISS, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, DIRECTOR OF SALES AND MARKETING AT CUTTONE & CO (ENGLISH) SPEAKING: "While we got some bad economic data today, the companies are still performing pretty well from the fourth quarter earnings reports, so it wouldn't surprise me a bit if we see an all time high in the S&P within the next two weeks. That's where we think the market is gonna go right now." The Dow tacked on 126 points, The S&P 500 rallied 8. And the Nasdaq is up seven consecutive sessions. For the week, the Dow jumped 2.3 percent and the Nasdaq roared ahead by 2.8 percent. Wall Street overlooked a report showing industrial production at its lowest since the recession. Some investors are willing to bet the surprise slowdown was mostly related to this harsh winter. Investors also looked past no change in consumer sentiment. The preliminary February reading of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index showing Americans just as worried about their finances as they were in January. In company news... Men's clothing retailer Jos. A. Bank is shelling out $825 million for outdoor apparel maker Eddie Bauer. The deal is seen as Jos. A. Bank's attempt to block a long-running takeover attempt by Men's Wearhouse. Shares of Jos. A. Bank inched higher, while Men's Wearhouse fell over 5 percent. Olympic Gold Medalist Shani Davis and fellow members of the American speed skating team may ditch their suits made by Under Armour. According to the Wall Street Journal, sources from the U.S. team are blaming the suit for a disastrous performance so far at the Sochi Olympics. Responding to the report, the Executive Director of the U.S. team says evidence suggests that suits are not the problem. Nevertheless, shares of Under Armour are down more than 2 percent. New York Fashion Week comes to a close with Ralph Lauren. He's extending his Americana look with his first-ever Polo collection for women. Shares of the Fashion brand - up for the day. In Europe, news that Italy is getting a new prime minister lifted stocks, further helped by good economic data from Germany and France.