Personal Savings; Bank Failures; Week Ahead on Wall Street

Both the Dow Jones industrial average and the Standard & Poor’s 500 slipped on Friday ending on a low for the second week running, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite managed to notch up a small gain for the week. The rally which had been spurred on by speculation that the U.S. economy is beginning to stabilize, was pushed off track by recent economic reports indicating the road to recovery may still be some way off. A Commerce Department report released on Friday revealed that personal income had surged, however, savings had done the same. This is seen as a sign that investors are choosing to sit out the recession, rather than to spend at the present time. Savings in relation to income rose from 5.6 percent in April to 6.9 percent in May. Bearing in mind that economic growth is largely dependent on consumer spending, economist see the mounting personal savings rate as a cause of concern.

As the Obama administration step up efforts to stabilize the financial sector and set new regulatory criteria, local banks in Minnesota, California and Georgia were closed down by state regulators on Friday. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the total number of failed banks this year currently stands at 45, highlighting the negative impact the financial crisis has had on small banks across the United States. Analysts agree that even if the economy and larger banks start stabilizing, it is likely that smaller banks will continue to fail under the pressure of losses in the housing market and while household disposable income is affected by job losses.

As stock market traders face a week marking the end of the second quarter of 2009, and shortened by the 4th of July three day holiday weekend, there are a number of upcoming reports for investors to consider. Tuesday sees the release of the June Consumer Confidence index as measured by the Conference Board, and the Chicago PMI regional reading on manufacturing. Payroll firm ADP will release the private-sector employment reading for June on Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors will release the Pending Home Sales index, while the Institute for Supply Management will make known the manufacturing index for June and the Commerce Department will release May construction spending figures. June auto and truck sales will be released throughout the day, following the early morning release of weekly crude oil inventories from the Energy Information Administration. Thursday sees the release of the June employment report from the Labor Department, as well as the unemployment rate, which is expected to have reached 9.6 percent. All U.S. financial markets will be closed on Friday for the 4th of July holiday weekend.