The US markets closed higher on Monday, with the S&P 500 ending at a record and the Dow extending its streak of such closing highs to nine. The day's gains were modest but broad-based. Eight of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors ended higher on the day, with consumer staples and technology shares leading on the day. Tech was supported by a broad rally in semiconductor stocks. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said that the level of short-term interest rates is fine where it is for now. The current level of the policy rate is likely to remain appropriate over the near term. Bullard added that he doesn't believe that the unemployment rate, which is running at a 16-year low at 4.3%, will be enough to push inflation toward the central bank's 2% target. Even a further steep decline in the jobless rate wouldn't boost prices. Bullard said a key driver of US inflation appears to be global commodity prices, especially crude oil prices. Bullard said the question of whether financial stability should be a goal of monetary policy remains a hot topic.
On the economy front, consumer borrowing slowed a bit in June from the torrid growth in the prior month, but continued at a solid pace. Total consumer credit increased $12.4 billion in June to a record seasonally adjusted $3.86 trillion, posting an annual growth rate of 3.9%. This is down from a revised $18.3 billion gain in May, which was the strongest rate in six months. Consumer borrowing slowed a bit in the second quarter as a whole, continuing a trend in place since last fall. Credit rose at a 4.5% annual rate during the second quarter, down slightly from a 5% pace in the first quarter. The historical main source of credit growth, non-revolving credit, which covers loans for education and cars, rose at an annual rate of 4.9% in June, down from 8.2% in May. Revolving credit, which is mostly made up of credit-card loans, increased at an annual rate of 3.9% in June, down from 5.7% in May.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 25.61 points or 0.12 percent to 22,118.42, the Nasdaq gained 32.21 points or 0.51 percent to 6,383.77, while the S&P 500 edged higher by 4.08 points or 0.16 percent to 2,480.91.