Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, is 'optimistic' about the economy and sees unemployment trending down toward 8 percent by the end of 2012 as cyclical forces such as higher oil and food prices, as well as effects from the Japanese earthquake, begin to ease.
The political dance over the US debt ceiling crisis continued Sunday with the possibility that top lawmakers could be summoned to the White House, although no meeting had been scheduled.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke warns of a 'self-inflicted' wound, and Wall Street firms see dire consequences, if stalemate over how to raise the US debt ceiling persists.
The Dow fell 59 points, with about three stocks falling on Tuesday for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange
Debt ceiling talks could result in a $4 trillion 'grand bargain,' or a smaller $2 trillion deal. Most economist say the bigger deal would be more helpful – and send a positive message to markets.
The Dow rose 56 points, the S&P 500 gained 1 point, and the Nasdaq closed 8 points higher. Financial companies suffered from Moody's downgrade of Portugal's credit rating on Tuesday.
The Dow fell about 13 points, the S&P 500 lost 2 points, and the Nasdaq gained 10 points
Tech stocks reported poor earnings Friday, causing shares to fall. Tech stocks are seen as an early indicator for corporate earnings in other sectors.
The US is the only major economy where leaders talk openly about the potential of default. It's dangerous because financial markets would punish the US with high interest rates if traders believed the US would default.
Nearly half of US mutual fund assets are invested in European banks, some of which face big losses in case of a Greek default. Banks could see their ratings downgraded after a Greek default.