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Unemployment Falls in 43 States; Dollar Beats Euro, Yen; Consumer Sentiment Rebounds; GM Shares Break $33 IPO Level

Unemployment Falls in 43 States (Reuters)
Unemployment rates have dropped in 43 out of the 50 states from last year, as well as in the District of Columbia, according to Labor Department data released today. A handful of states, including Illinois, saw rates climb. Illinois’ rate has still remained high from last year despite a small drop; “April data reflects the unevenness of this recovery,” said the director of the Illinois employment department, Jay Rowell. “This uneven path forward likely will continue until consumer and business confidence can be sustained at the national level.”

Dollar Beats Euro, Yen (Reuters)
The dollar rose against a variety of foreign currencies today on the back of debates over the future of the Fed’s stimulus program. The dollar marked a six-week peak against the euro and its best level against the yen in four and a half years, due respectively to concerns about action by the European Central Bank and Japan’s continued easy-money policy.

Consumer Sentiment Rebounds (CNBC)
Early May’s consumer sentiment levels surged to beat economists’ predictions and reach their highest level since 2007. As Americans feel more confident about their financial and economic prospects, and future economic activity shows promise, this number could rise further. “The biggest positive factor is the potential for improvement in the recovering housing and labor markets,” Ken Goldstein, an economist at the Conference Board, said. “The biggest unknown is the resiliency in confidence, both consumer and business.”

GM Shares Break $33 IPO Level (Detroit Free Press)
For the first time in two years, General Motors has risen above its $33 public offering price. Its 2013 gains of 14% reflect growing investor confidence that GM’s recovery has gained sustainable traction, despite losses in its European operations. “GM, while still beset with issues, is generally executing better than investors give it credit for,” Barclays analyst Brian Johnson said.

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