US stocks rose on Friday, pushing the S&P 500 up 0.2 percent to yet another record high.
As on Thursday, stocks rose despite negative US economic data. A report on Friday showed that consumer spending fell 0.1 percent in April after having jumped 1.0 percent in March. Income rose 0.3 percent in April.
Also, the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment fell to 81.9 in May from 84.1 in April.
However, the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago’s business barometer rose to 65.5 in May from 63.0 in April.
Also showing weakness in consumer spending on Friday was Germany, where retail sales fell 0.9 percent in April.
However, the biggest fall in consumer spending last month occurred in Japan, where data earlier on Friday showed the impact of the April sales tax hike on the economy.
While the inflation rate jumped to 3.2 percent in April, household spending plunged 13.3 percent and industrial production fell 2.5 percent.
However, the unemployment rate held at a near seven-year low of 3.6 percent.
In its annual review of Japan's economy on Friday, the International Monetary Fund suggested that Japan's “current aggressive pace of monetary easing may need to be maintained for an extended period”, that the “sustainability of the recovery over the medium term is at risk”, and that “more forceful reforms are needed”.
It was China, though, who has acted to ease monetary conditions. The cabinet announced on Friday after a weekly meeting that the reserve requirement will be reduced for banks whose lending is geared towards the real economy.