Stocks: It's been 'a bruising month'

May 27, 2011: 8:50 AM ET

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NEW YORK(CNNMoney) -- U.S. stocks were headed for slight gains early Friday, after a report on personal income and spending came in as expected.

Dow Jones industrial average (INDU), S&P 500 (SPX) and Nasdaq (COMP) futures were modestly higher ahead of the opening bell. Futures measure current index values against perceived future performance.

Trading could be subdued Friday, as investors are often reluctant to place big bets ahead of a long weekend. The stock market will be closed Monday for the Memorial Day holiday.

Stocks edged higher Thursday, as momentum in the technology sector offset disappointing reports on economic growth and the labor market.

Overall, shares have been struggling this month, as optimism over upbeat corporate earnings has been tempered by signs the economy could be entering a slowdown this summer.

The three major gauges are on track to post losses for the week and are down about 3% for the month. But many analysts say the market is still headed higher this year.

"U.S. equity indices had a bruising month of May, but their week and monthly charts appear well within their 2-year uptrends," said Ashraf Laidi, chief executive of Intermarket Strategy, in a note to investors.

Economy: Personal incomes rose 0.4% in April, after rising at the same rate in March, the government said. The increase matched estimates from economists surveyed by

Spending by individuals in the month also rose 0.4%, down slightly from 0.5% the month before. Economists had forecast a 0.5% rise.

Shortly after the opening bell, the University of Michigan will put out its final reading on consumer sentiment in May. Economists expect the figure to remain unchanged at 72.4.

The National Association of Realtors is expected to report a 1.4% decline in pending home sales for the month of March.

Companies: Toyota (TM), Nissan (NSANY) and Honda (HON, Fortune 500) all reported sharp declines in sales and production during April, as the fallout from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami continue to take a toll on Japan's auto industry.

PayPal and its parent company eBay (EBAY, Fortune 500) are suing Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) for allegedly stealing trade secrets related to mobile payment technology.

World markets: Fitch Ratings lowered its outlook for Japan's economy to "negative" from "stable," saying the government needs to do more to reduce its long-term debt load.

But the agency said Japan's credit rating remains supported by a high savings rate among the nation's population.

Asian markets ended the session mixed. The Shanghai Composite slid nearly 1% and Japan's Nikkei dipped 0.4%, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.9%.

European stocks were higher in morning trading. Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.8%, the DAX in Germany ticked up 0.3% and France's CAC 40 advanced 0.7%.

Currencies and commodities: The dollar fell against the euro, the Japanese yen and the British pound.

Oil for July delivery gained 30 cents to $100.53 a barrel.

Gold futures for June delivery rose $3.50 to $1,526.30 an ounce.

Bonds: The price on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury eased, pushing the yield up to 3.07% from 3.06% late Thursday.  To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 32,627.97 -234.33 -0.71%
Nasdaq 13,215.24 99.07 0.76%
S&P 500 3,913.10 -2.36 -0.06%
Treasuries 1.73 0.00 0.12%
Data as of 6:29am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Ford Motor Co 8.29 0.05 0.61%
Advanced Micro Devic... 54.59 0.70 1.30%
Cisco Systems Inc 47.49 -2.44 -4.89%
General Electric Co 13.00 -0.16 -1.22%
Kraft Heinz Co 27.84 -2.20 -7.32%
Data as of 2:44pm ET
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.80%3.88%
15 yr fixed3.20%3.23%
5/1 ARM3.84%3.88%
30 yr refi3.82%3.93%
15 yr refi3.20%3.23%
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