Happy May Day as markets get ready for a new month. The S&P 500 was up 1.42% for the month of April and is up 1.93% for the year.
The number of companies planning layoffs in April rose by 17% from the previous month. US employers planned to cut 41,835 jobs during the month. (Challenger, Gray & Christmas)
Portland based Columbia Sportswear posted a profit of over $22 million last quarter up 120% from the year before. Sales climbed 22% on cold winter weather. Columbia is also buying prAna a mainly women based retailer of clothes for spring and summer. (The Street)
Hillsboro based FEI, the world’s largest maker of powerful microscopes posted weak profits and sales last month. Sales were up 2.3% to record levels but well below what the company had forecast. Profits came in at a little over $25 million but were also below what was expected. (Globe Newswire)
US home ownership is the lowest in 19 years standing at 64.8%. This is the lowest since Q2 of 1995 when it was 64.7%. Tight lending standards, rising interest rates, slow personal income growth and delays in getting married are all driving the number down. Some speculate the number could drop to 55% before recovering. (Bloomberg)