Chart: Large Cap Stocks Total Return Index (LCSTRI) and Z Scores of Secular Trends
Headline: Dow climbs to highest since 2007
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Dow industrials closed at the highest level in nearly five years on Tuesday in a lightly traded session before key decisions in Germany and the United States that could give markets a further boost.
Energy, industrial and financial firms led the advance. Contributing to gains by the Dow industrials, shares of International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) rose 1.15 percent to $203.27. Heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar (CAT.N) added 1.72 percent to $88.60.
Equities have rallied in recent weeks on hopes for monetary stimulus by central banks. The Federal Reserve could announce Thursday additional steps to support low interest rates. On Wednesday, Germany's highest court will decide on the legality of the euro zone's new bailout fund.
Headline: Household income drops for 4th straight year
The income of the typical American household fell last year for the fourth consecutive year, the longest sustained period of decline since the early 2000s. Americans are now poorer than they were in 1999 after taking into account how inflation erodes the value of the dollar.
Median household income fell after adjusting for inflation to $50,100 in 2011, down 1.5% from a year earlier.
The Census Bureau's annual income report is considered a key indicator of the economic health of the nation and its middle class. Median income is the true middle point of American households — half made more, half made less in 2011.
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