Shares of discount brokers are gaining the most since 2003 compared with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, a sign that small investors are joining the four-year bull market even after U.S. stocks suffered their biggest losses in six months.
U.S. stocks declined, following the biggest two-day gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index since January, as investors weighed S&P’s move to boost its outlook for America and Chinese data missed estimates.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke will leave behind an economy poised to record its biggest advance in almost a decade when he makes his anticipated departure from the central bank early next year.
U.S. stocks rose, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average returning to a record, after data showed consumer confidence climbed to the highest level since 2008 and home values jumped the most in seven years.
Hedge funds increased bets on lower gold prices after investors pulled a record $20.8 billion from bullion funds this year while BlackRock Inc., the world’s biggest money manager, said it’s still bullish.
U.S. technology stocks, the second- best industry of the past decade, have fallen to the cheapest levels in at least seven years and are vulnerable to more losses as analysts reduce second-quarter profit estimates.