S&P 500 posts win streak
U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 index posting its longest monthly win streak since September 2009, as investors cheered corporate earnings and ongoing monetary stimulus.
The bull market, which entered a fifth year in March, has been “driven by strong earnings and three rounds of bond purchases by the (Federal Reserve),” said Alan Skrainka, chief investment officer at Cornerstone Wealth Management in Des Peres, Mo.
Skrainka and other analysts also cited the market’s lofty levels as part of Tuesday’s equation. “We’re coming off a peak,” said Skrainka, who chalked up the day’s action to the “normal ebb and flow” of the equities market.
Russia charging NASA per seat
NASA is paying $424 million more to Russia to get U.S. astronauts into space, and the agency’s leader is blaming Congress for the extra expense.
NASA announced its latest contract with the Russian Space Agency on Tuesday. The $424 million represents flights to and from the International Space Station aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft, as well as training, for six astronauts in 2016 and the first half of 2017.
That’s $70.6 million per seat — well above the previous price tag of about $65 million.
Russia currently provides the only means of getting people to and from the space station, and its ticket prices have soared with each new contract.
Company trying to cut costs
U.S. Steel Corp. CEO John Surma identified cost cutting and proposals to boost its profitable tubular division as ways the steelmaker can improve performance after reporting a first-quarter loss on Tuesday.
Surma told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting that it is considering an expansion of its seamless tubing hot mill at its Lorain, Ohio, Works. And it reached an agreement with a Republic Steel plant in Lorain that would supply steel bars to U.S. Steel’s tubing plant faster and cheaper than its current suppliers.
Surma said the expansion is part of “our strategic objective to increase our premium tubular products capabilities” that supply natural gas producers in Marcellus and Utica shale and other regions with drilling pipe.
The projects in Lorain depends on the start up of a new electric furnace Republic is building.