As I discussed on Yahoo Finance’s Market Movers last week, investors have once again shifted their collective attention away from relentless and schizophrenic geopolitical headlines. It even appears as though the fear of burgeoning trade wars and rising tariffs has had little impact on equity prices thus far in Q3. Since the beginning of July, investors have focused on the two principal drivers of equity market price discovery: earnings and economic data.
WTI crude is flying high again after posting its best day in 6 months on Friday, and the near-term direction for crude prices is becoming clear. Last week’s OPEC meeting provided for some interesting trading in energy markets, particularly on Friday. The production deal signed off on by OPEC on Friday allows for a nominal boost in production, to the tune of 1 million barrels per day.
On Monday, the Housing Market Index reading for June came in at 68, a bit weaker than Wall Street expectations for 78. On Tuesday, Housing Starts totals for May will be released. Econoday consensus is calling for Starts – Level – SAAR of 1.320M, up from April’s 1,278 M. On Wednesday, MBA Mortgage Applications and Existing Home Sales are set for release.
This week’s economic calendar can best be defined as manufacturing-centric. Away from the FOMC minutes, scheduled for release on Wednesday afternoon, and Chair Jerome Powell’s scheduled talk on Friday morning, investors will be keeping a close eye on a sector of the economy that many had given up on — at least until November 2016. Today we got the Chicago Fed National Manufacturing Index, which surprised to the upside with a big revision to the prior month.
Macroeconomic data released last week did, to a degree, allay fears of accelerating inflation and a near-term ratcheting up in interest rates as a result of a drop in the Q1 GDP relative to Q4 of 2017. The Chicago Fed National Activity Index for March was significantly slower than the prior month’s revised reading of .98. March’s reading was 15.
U.S. equity markets were under pressure again today, building on the negative sentiment that emerged last week, wherein stocks moved decidedly in two directions. At the outset of the week, equity markets stepped smartly higher, and in the process, helped temporarily allay fears that a sharp move lower and retest of 2581 was in the cards after the previous week’s elevated volatility and dramatic pullback.
Bank of America (BAC) reported strong beats on both its top and bottom lines this morning. The price action is best understood in conjunction with the events that unfolded last week. In a perverse turn of events last week, large-cap banks reported Q1 results on Friday morning and largely beat consensus expectations for EPS and revenue growth, but fell victim to a dramatic selloff after markets opened.
After nearly two months of heightened volatility, extreme price dislocation, and dramatically-shifting equity investor expectations, Q1 earnings season begins this week. It is clear that there are multiple factors likely to impact both the tone and direction of equity prices over the near term — this, away from earnings. The last article I wrote for Yahoo Finance two weeks ago was titled “Stocks are vulnerable until Q1 earnings season gets underway.” The closing sentence of that article was: “The wildcard is President Trump.” Both weeks following the publication of that article were characterized by extreme vulnerability, weak price action and Trump playing the role of wildcard.
As I indicated in the conclusion of last week’s note, equity markets were vulnerable to further weakness based primarily on February’s selloff and the technical setup provided in the previous week. Not only did we witness a sharp pullback on escalating volume on all major equity exchanges on the week, but also the S&P 500 (^GSPC, SPY) closed exactly 10% off its record high while simultaneously setting up investors for that retest of the February lows the we have been expecting. It was an eventful week both politically and economically.
Politics aside, investors will be focused on the FOMC meeting announcement, forecasts and Fed press conference this week. As we have discussed in previous notes, investors are universally expecting the FOMC to raise rates by 25 bps. The FOMC forecasts, arguably the most pivotal narrative for investors this week, will be updated.
President Trump agrees to meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un by May while making no concessions in advance of the first talks between the heads of state of the two countries. Italy’s newly-elected populist leader castigates the euro, Brussels, Germany’s dominance over the European Parliament, and the Brexit negotiations being spearheaded by Brussels, France and Germany. Last week was another week of headline-fueled misdirection, highlighted by the resignation of President Trump’s Senior Economic Advisor Gary Cohn, the official signing of the previously announced tariffs on steel and aluminum, the announcement of Trump’s willingness to meet with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un and a blockbuster February Employment Report.
President Trump’s tariff talk provides market bears the confidence and conviction to push equity markets sharply lower. In the case of the S&P 500 (^GSPC, SPY), that support was found at its 200 day moving average.
US equities post a relatively flat weekly performance in large part due to Thursday’s dramatic reversal and end of week following through on Friday. The CBOE Volatility Index slips 11.81% on the week to end at 16.49. The CBOE 10-year yield posted a relatively flat weekly performance closing at 2.87%.
By Peter Kenny, chief market strategist for Global Markets Advisory Group and owner of KennysCommentary.com U.S. equity markets post best weekly gain since 2013 a week after posting the worst weekly performance in two years. U.S. dollar finally reverses higher last week after trading to a three year low CBOE Volatility Index (^VIX) drops 49.3% from its Feb. 6th high of 38.33 January’s NFIB report ticks higher (again) to 106.9 from December’s 104.9 After falling 10.5% from recent highs, WTI crude firms and trades to $61. ...
Dow Industrials (^DJI, DIA) have risen 5,067 points or 26.4% and closed on Friday 9% below its record high close of 26,616.71. US equity markets have posted significant 52-week gains due largely to an expanding economy, near full-employment, an accelerating GDP, improving corporate results and near record-high levels of consumer and small business confidence. US corporate results, in the form of the S&P 500, are beating estimates at the best rate since 2009 this earnings season.
Today’s market rout is a continuation of Friday’s meltdown in the US equity markets, which capped off the worst weekly performance by all three major equity market indices in over a year. The Dow Industrials (^DJI, DIA) (-665.75 pts/2.54%) and Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC, QQQ) (144.94pts/-1.96%) traded lower in lockstep. On Friday NYSE volume surged 8.89%.
• U.S. equity markets post a fourth consecutive week of gains • All three major US equity indices trade further into record territory • S&P Capital IQ raises Q4 EPS estimates for the S&P 500 • Apple, Amazon and Facebook earnings due out • Initial 2017 Q4 GDP, released last Friday, disappoints at 2.6%; Bloomberg consensus was calling for 2.9% • A jump in net exports and a slowdown in net investments held back the topline number to a gain of 2.6% • Q4 consumer spending rose 3.8% • Q4 Durable spending rose 14.2% • Q4 Residential investment rose 11. ...
• Senate reaches plan to end U.S. Federal Government shutdown • Investor optimism reaches the highest level since 1986 • US manufacturing continues to defy conventional thinking, rising for a fourth straight month • US oil production set to upend global trade – Reuters • IEA sees explosive growth in US oil output as prices rally – Bloomberg • 75% of US truckers expect volume to rise in the next six months and 70% expect rates to rise
This week’s economic calendar starts off with a whisper and ends with a bang—particularly for those looking closely at inflation and the follow-through impact on monetary policy. On Wednesday the all-important Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations report is released. What is on the horizon that could threaten the equity market rally?
Manufacturing, an unexpectedly strong sector of the U.S. economy in 2017, was highlighted today, the first trading day of the year. The PMI Manufacturing Index for December came in at 55.1, above Wall Street expectations and besting November’s print of 53.9. Manufacturing, as a component of the U.S. economy, has in recent years been considered a necessary casualty in the evolution of our economic model shifting toward more service- and technology-centric verticals.
As expected, last week's equity market trading was largely focused on the tax bill winding its way through reconciliation. With each barrier to passage eliminated through negotiation, equity markets gained traction.
US equity markets moved incrementally higher and further into record territory in Black Friday’s abbreviated session, with the Nasdaq, S&P 500 and Dow Industrials ticking higher. The Nasdaq led the way with a gain of 1.6% while the Dow Industrials and S&P 500 both tacked on 0.9%.
US equity markets, with the support of solid economic data and a very constructive Q3 earnings season, remain on solid ground as they hover close to record highs. Highlights from last week’s economic calendar confirm that.