Consumer income and spending are up, but the stock market has been largely stagnant since February. Two big trends could be behind the Dow's tepid spring.
First it was the jobless recovery. Now it seems like the joyless recovery. Despite gains in personal incomes and spending for March, the US stock market sagged Monday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average spent the morning in negative terrain, compared with Friday's close, and that's part of a broader trend.
After rising in this year's early weeks, the widely watched Dow index has been treading water since February, a little below or above the 13000 level.
What's holding back investor spirits?
Corporate profits, after all, have reached historically high levels, yet the Dow's level of about 13200 Monday remains well below the pre-recession peak (about 700 points above that).
Two factors appear to be important: