In recent weeks, the Trump administration has become increasingly outspoken about North Korea’s advances in nuclear weapons technology, setting a clear shift away from the prior policy described as “strategic patience.” Both U.S. and foreign stocks were under pressure last week as tensions between North Korea and the U.S. rose.
Though investor fears spiked last Thursday, following a volley of words between the Trump Administration and North Korean leadership, those fears subsided over the weekend, as other countries, such as China, have stepped up to apply additional pressure on North Korea. Between last Friday and Monday of this week, the major market averages have recovered most of last Thursday’s losses, as investors continue to buy the dips.
With congress on vacation for the month of August and daily trading volume seasonally below average, we don’t expect the major averages to do much more this month than hold onto their gains.
Laif Meidell, CMT
We hope you have a great week,
Pat Meidell, Laif Meidell and Heidi Foster
Weekly Economic Update
TAME INFLATION PERSISTS
Can the Federal Reserve justify another interest rate hike in the second half of 2017? Given weak inflation pressure, maybe not. The central bank has set a 2% yearly inflation target, but the Consumer Price Index rose only 0.1% in July, resulting in a 1.7% year-over-year gain. Core consumer prices rose 0.1% for a fourth consecutive month in July, so annualized core inflation was also at 1.7%. The Producer Price Index fell 0.1% last month; analysts polled by Briefing.com expected a 0.2% rise.1,2
ANALYSIS: EARNINGS GROW AT A 10% PACE
More than 90% of companies in the S&P 500 have now reported second-quarter results. FactSet, the respected financial analytics firm, now projects a blended earnings growth rate of 10.2% for the S&P 500 for the second quarter, along a with 5.1% blended sales growth rate. S&P component firms generating less than 50% of their sales outside the U.S., however, are set to record 14.0% blended earnings growth and 6.0% blended revenue growth.3
THE PRICE OF GOLD RISES
At Friday’s close, the yellow metal hit a 2-month high of $1,294.00 on the COMEX as investors looked away from equities. Gold gained 2.3% on the week.4
TURBULENCE FOR WALL STREET
Diplomatic tensions sent stocks lower last week. Across August 7-11, the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 1.06% to 21,858.32; the S&P 500, 1.43% to 2,441.32; the Nasdaq Composite, 1.50% to 6,256.56. Volatility certainly came back: the CBOE VIX jumped 53.44% to end the week at 15.39.5
On Monday, Cumulus Media and Sysco report quarterly results. Tuesday brings July retail sales numbers and earnings from Advance Auto Parts, Agilent, Coach, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Home Depot, TJX, and Urban Outfitters. On Wednesday, minutes from the July Federal Reserve policy meeting appear; Wall Street will also interpret a report on July housing starts and building permits and earnings news from Cisco, L Brands, NetApp, Stein Mart, and Target. Fresh reports on initial jobless claims and industrial production roll in Thursday, complemented by earnings from Alibaba Group, America’s Car-Mart, Applied Materials, Bon-Ton Stores, Gap, Ross Stores, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Stage Stores, and Walmart. Friday, investors consider earnings from Deere & Co. and Estee Lauder and the preliminary August consumer sentiment index from the University of Michigan.