Updated: 07-29-2014

The Market at 04:20PM ET
Dow: -70.48… | Nasdaq: -2.21… | S&P: -8.96…
NASDAQ Vol: 1.96 bln… Adv: 1396… Dec: 1347…
NYSE Vol: 614.9 mln… Adv: 1194… Dec: 1831…

Moving the Market

FOMC begins two-day meeting

Dow components Merck (MRK) and Pfizer (PFE) report better than expected results

Dow Jones Transportation Average member UPS (UPS) misses estimates

EU officials expected to announce new sanctions against Russia

Sector Watch
Strong: Telecom Services
Weak: Financials, Industrials, Materials, Utilities

04:20PM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market ended the Tuesday session on a lower note after generally upbeat earnings took the back seat to geopolitical concerns. The S&P 500 (-0.5%) and Nasdaq Composite (-0.1%) ended on their lows, while the Russell 2000 (+0.3%) displayed relative strength.

Once again, market participants were focused on quarterly reports in the early going, but geopolitical worries overshadowed the impact of mostly better than expected earnings. Specifically, equities retreated after it was reported that European EU officials have prepared the new set of sanctions against Russia. The imposition of new sanctions may pique concerns about a boomerang effect on the global economy, and Europe in particular, but it is worth noting that the Russian ruble and Market Vectors Russia ETF (RSX 23.85, -0.50) strengthened in reaction to the news.

The reports of forthcoming sanctions were followed by afternoon headlines from Washington indicating the Treasury Department has added VTB, the Bank of Moscow, and Russian Agriculture Bank to the sanction list. After the news crossed the wires, the RSX and the ruble dropped to fresh lows, as did the S&P 500.

Nine of ten sectors registered losses with the industrial space (-1.2%) spending the day at the bottom of the leaderboard. The sector was pressured by transport stocks after UPS (UPS 98.86, -3.80) reported disappointing results and guided lower. For its part, the Dow Jones Transportation Average logged its fourth consecutive loss, tumbling 1.4% with 17 of its 20 components ending in the red.

Unlike the industrial sector, other cyclical groups fared a bit better. Financials (-0.6%) and materials (-0.7%) lagged, while consumer discretionary (-0.3%) and technology (-0.2%) displayed relative strength.

In the discretionary sector, Honda Motor (HMC 36.02, +0.84) advanced 2.4% after reporting a slim earnings beat. The carmaker underpinned the sector, which also drew strength from retailers. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT 84.24, 0.00) ended flat.

Elsewhere, the relative strength of the technology sector kept the broader market from sliding deeper into the red. High-beta chipmakers contributed to the outperformance with the likes of AMD (AMD 3.79, +0.06), Broadcom (BRCM 37.99, +0.27), and Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM 20.55, +0.18) adding between 0.7% and 1.6%.

Similarly, biotech companies also rallied with the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 254.78, +2.87) ending higher by 1.1%. Meanwhile, the health care sector settled flat.

On the upside, only one sector finished in the green. Telecom services (+2.2%) rallied after Windstream (WIN 11.83, +1.30) was cleared by the Internal Revenue Service to spin off its assets into a publically-traded REIT. Peers AT&T (T 36.59, +0.94) and Verizon (VZ 51.97, +0.39) gained 2.6% and 0.8%, respectively on speculation they could also explore conversions into REITs.

On the fixed income side, Treasuries ended the session with modest gains that pressured the 10-yr yield lower by two basis points to 2.46%.

Participation was on the light side with 615 million shares changing hands at the NYSE.

Economic data was limited to the Case-Shiller 20-city Index and the Consumer Confidence report:
  • The Case-Shiller 20-city Home Price Index for May rose 9.3%, while a 10.0% increase had been expected by the Briefing.com consensus 
    • This followed the previous month's increase of 10.8% 
  • The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index spiked to 90.9 in July from an upwardly revised 86.4 (from 85.2), while the Briefing.com consensus pegged the Index at 85.6
    • Consumer confidence is now at its highest level since October 2007 
    • The Present Situation Index increased to 88.3 from 86.3 and the Expectations Index rose to 92.7 from 86.4 
Tomorrow, the weekly MBA Mortgage Index will be released at 7:00 ET, while the ADP Employment Change for July (Briefing.com consensus 215K) will be reported at 8:15 ET. The advance reading of Q2 GDP will be released at 8:30 ET (consensus 3.2%), while the FOMC will reveal its latest policy statement at 14:00 ET.
  • S&P 500 +6.6% YTD 
  • Nasdaq Composite +6.4% YTD 
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average +2.0% YTD 
  • Russell 2000 -1.8% YTD
Dow: -70.48… | Nasdaq: -2.21… | S&P: -8.96…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1396/1347. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1194/1831.

03:35PM ET
[BRIEFING.COM]
  • Aug gold fell into negative territory after trading as high as $1310.30 per ounce in morning action as the dollar index strengthened. The yellow metal brushed a session low of $1295.50 per ounce and eventually settled with a 0.4% loss at $1298.20 per ounce. 
  • Sep silver also pulled back from its session high of $20.79 per ounce set in early morning pit trade and brushed a session low of $20.50 per ounce. It inched slightly higher heading into the close and settled 1 cent higher at $20.58 per ounce.
  • Sep crude oil extended yesterday's losses as the stronger dollar index weighed on prices. The energy component spent its entire floor session in the red, trading as low as $100.32 per barrel. Unable to gain buying support, it settled at $100.91 per barrel, or 0.8% lower. 
  • Sep natural gas dipped to a session low of $3.74 per MMBtu in morning action and chopped around slightly below the unchanged level. Buyers stepped in during the last hour of floor trade and took prices up as high as $3.83 per MMBtu. Natural gas settled at $3.82 per MMBtu, or 1.3% higher.
Dow: -42.73… | Nasdaq: +4.41… | S&P: -5.87…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1503/1178. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1309/1705.

03:00PM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 trades lower by 0.2% with one hour remaining in the session. Quarterly earnings were in focus this morning and they will take center stage once again after the closing bell.

More than a hundred companies are expected to report their results this evening with a Dow Jones Transportation Average component-CH Robinson (CHRW 64.76, -0.85)-among the names on the schedule. In addition, investors will hear from American Express (AXP 91.85, -0.01), Amgen (AMGN 124.13, +1.48), and Twitter (TWTR 38.69, +0.76).

Tomorrow morning, Humana (HUM 127.80, -3.13), Philips 66 (PSX 82.92, +0.31), and WellPoint (WLP 112.89, -2.68) will be among the names reporting their earnings.
Dow: -20.71… | Nasdaq: +8.32… | S&P: -3.38…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1544/1191. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1347/1634.

02:30PM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] Range-bound action continues with the S&P 500 (-0.1%) holding near its unchanged level. Meanwhile, the tech-heavy Nasdaq (+0.2%) outperforms.

The Nasdaq has been able to stay ahead of the S&P 500 throughout the session thanks to the relative strength of the technology sector (+0.1%). High-beta chipmakers also outperform, but the PHLX Semiconductor Index has narrowed its gain to 0.1% after being up 0.7% shortly after the start of the session.

Furthermore, biotechnology has also played a part with the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 254.31, +2.40) trading higher by 1.0%. Despite the advance, the biotech ETF is still down 1.0% in July.
Dow: -16.72… | Nasdaq: +7.78… | S&P: -2.42…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1535/1144. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1381/1592.

02:00PM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 remains anchored to its flat line, which has been the case for the better part of the past two hours. Fittingly, with the index near its unchanged level, five sectors hold gains, while the other five sit in the red.

On the cyclical side, the consumer discretionary sector (+0.3%) continues showing relative strength, while industrials (-0.4%) underperform. Also of note, the energy sector (+0.1%) sports a slim gain even as crude oil trades lower by 0.9% at $100.80/bbl.

Elsewhere, Treasuries have inched up from their recent levels, pressuring the benchmark 10-yr yield to 2.47%.
Dow: +18.67… | Nasdaq: +16.51… | S&P: +1.11…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1664/1020. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1583/1388.

01:30PM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] There isn't much to be gleaned about the market today by simply looking at the standing of the major indices.  They are all sporting modest gains, yet they belie what has been a roller-coaster trade.

Good earnings and economic news has been offset in part by some geopolitical headlines with a negative hue.  The stock market overall, though, seems to be operating in a wait-and-see mode as it eyes Wednesday's trading session, which will include the advance estimate for second quarter GDP (Briefing.com consensus 3.2%), the ADP Employment Change report for July (Briefing.com consensus 215,000), and the FOMC decision.

Looking elsewhere, the Treasury market has operated in a steadier state today, supported by some safe-haven posturing and a $35 bln 5-yr note auction that was met with strong demand.

Specifically, the auction drew a high yield of 1.72% on a 2.81 bid-to-cover ratio that exceeded the prior 12-auction average of 2.67.  The 10-yr note is up four ticks with its yield at 2.47%.
Dow: +24.95… | Nasdaq: +16.18… | S&P: +1.63…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1659/1006. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1620/1355.

01:00PM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] At midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.2%), Nasdaq (+0.3%), and S&P 500 (+0.1%) hold slim gains, while the Russell 2000 (+0.6%) outperforms.

Like yesterday, the overnight session was free of any broad developments, which allowed the focus to turn toward the next batch of earnings in the U.S. In general, most of the reports received since yesterday's closing bell have surpassed expectations, but there were a few noteworthy disappointments too.

Despite showing early strength, the indices have been knocked off their highs by news of forthcoming EU sanctions against Russia. The imposition of new sanctions may pique concerns about a boomerang effect on the global economy, and Europe in particular, but it is worth noting that the Russian ruble and Market Vectors Russia ETF (RSX 24.47, +0.12) strengthened in reaction to the news.

Moving to earnings, a pair of Dow components-Pfizer (PFE 30.06, -0.04) and Merck (MRK 59.15, +1.18)-reported better than expected results, but only Merck remains in the green at this time. The health care sector, meanwhile, is higher by 0.3%.

Elsewhere among countercyclical groups, the telecom services sector (+2.8%) has gotten a major boost from news indicating Windstream (WIN 11.81, +1.28) has been cleared by the Internal Revenue Service to spin off its assets into a publically-traded REIT. Other telecom names like AT&T (T 36.72, +1.07) and Verizon (VZ 52.42, +0.84) have also rallied on speculation they could take the same route.

On the cyclical side, the consumer discretionary sector (+0.4%) has drawn strength from Honda Motor (HMC 35.93, +0.75) and retail stocks. The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT 84.76, +0.52) is higher by 0.6%.

Most of the remaining cyclical sectors trade near their flat lines, but industrials (-0.4%) have been pressured by transport stocks after UPS (UPS 99.39, -3.27) reported disappointing earnings and lowered its guidance. The stock, which trades lower by 3.2%, has slid to its 200-day moving average, while the Dow Jones Transportation Average holds a loss of 0.7%.

Treasuries are little changed with the 10-yr yield at 2.48%.

Economic data was limited to the Case-Shiller 20-city Index and the Consumer Confidence report:
  • The Case-Shiller 20-city Home Price Index for May rose 9.3%, while a 10.0% increase had been expected by the Briefing.com consensus 
    • This followed the previous month's increase of 10.8% 
  • The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index spiked to 90.9 in July from an upwardly revised 86.4 (from 85.2), while the Briefing.com consensus pegged the Index at 85.6
    • Consumer confidence is now at its highest level since October 2007 
    • The Present Situation Index increased to 88.3 from 86.3 and the Expectations Index rose to 92.7 from 86.4
Dow: +32.34… | Nasdaq: +13.65… | S&P: +1.96…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1617/1032. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1603/1346.

12:30PM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] Recent action saw the S&P 500 return to its flat line, while the Dow (+0.1%) and Nasdaq (+0.3%) continue trading ahead of the benchmark index. The market slumped from its high shortly after the reports of upcoming EU sanctions against Russia crossed the wires, but has since recovered a portion of that loss.

Overall, today's narrow trading range and little change in the major indices has been a reflection of a wait-and-see approach that has been employed by participants ahead of potentially market-moving data. On that note, the advance reading of Q2 GDP will be released tomorrow at 8:30 ET (Briefing.com consensus 3.2%), while the FOMC will reveal its latest policy decision at 14:00 ET.

Also of note, Friday morning will feature the release of the July jobs report (consensus 220K).
Dow: +21.29… | Nasdaq: +11.75… | S&P: +0.90…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1487/1124. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1506/1460.

12:00PM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices remain near their recent levels with the S&P 500 (-0.1%) trading within three points of its flat line. At this time, the consumer discretionary sector (+0.2%) is the only cyclical group trading in positive territory.

The discretionary sector has benefitted from a 1.3% advance in the shares of Honda Motor (HMC 35.65, +0.47) after the carmaker reported better than expected earnings. Staying in the sector, media names have also shown noteworthy strength. Comcast (CMCSA 55.57, +0.84) and Cablevision (CVC 19.87, +0.77) are higher by 1.5% and 4.0%, respectively.

On the flip side, the industrial sector (-0.6%) is the weakest growth-sensitive group as transport stocks weigh. UPS (UPS 99.10, -3.56) trades down 3.5% after missing earnings estimates and lowering its guidance. The broader Dow Jones Transportation Average holds a loss of 0.9% and is on track to register its fourth consecutive decline.
Dow: +3.64… | Nasdaq: +7.67… | S&P: -1.82…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1415/1186. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1352/1567.

11:30AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages have taken another step back following the news of forthcoming EU sanctions against Russia. The S&P 500 is now lower by 0.1%, while high-growth names continue showing relative strength as evidenced by modest gains in the Nasdaq Composite (+0.2%) and Russell 2000 (+0.4%).

The tech-heavy Nasdaq has received a measure of support from biotechnology, while chipmakers also trade ahead of the broader market (PHLX Semiconductor Index +0.1%). The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 254.48, +2.57) is higher by 1.0%, while the health care sector (+0.1%) is one of just three groups trading in the red.

Outside of health care, only consumer discretionary (+0.3%) and telecom services (+3.0%) trade in the green.
Dow: +3.38… | Nasdaq: +8.25… | S&P: -1.25…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1466/1087. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1425/1473.

11:00AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices have taken a step back from their best levels of the day in reaction to a Reuters report indicating European officials have reached a preliminary deal to introduce sanctions against Russia's oil and defense sectors.

While the agreement has not been made official yet, the announcement is likely to lead to speculation about a potential boomerang effect on the global economy.

According to the reports, the sanctions will be in place for three months before a review is conducted.

Treasuries did not move in reaction to the news with the 10-yr yield remaining at 2.47%.
Dow: +40.92… | Nasdaq: +18.90… | S&P: +2.76…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1703/810. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1730/1135.

10:35AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM]
  • The dollar index has continued to climb higher this morning and hit a new HoD minutes ago... it's now +0.2% at 81.20
  • This strength in helping weigh on commodities this morning such as gold, silver, copper and oil.
  • Crude oil began to sell off in overnight activity and fell as low as $100.32/barrel. Sept crude is now -0.5% at $101.12/barrel
  • Gold and silver also sold off in recent trade. Aug gold is currently -0.4% at $1298.40/oz, while Sept silver is +0.1% at $20.60/oz
  • Natural followed as well and is currently -0.3% at $3.74/MMBtu
  • Sept copper is -0.6% at $3.23/lb this morning.
Dow: +60.57… | Nasdaq: +21.85… | S&P: +4.69…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1743/728. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1767/1068.

10:00AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 trades higher by 0.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite (+0.4%) outperforms.

The consumer confidence reading for July came in at 90.9. Economists polled by Briefing.com expected the survey to come in at 85.6. This followed the prior month's revised reading of 86.4 (from 85.2).
Dow: +52.73… | Nasdaq: +19.47… | S&P: +4.22…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1634/735. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1745/1013.

09:40AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices registered early gains with the Russell 2000 (+0.2%) in the lead. The S&P 500 trades higher by 0.1% with three sectors in the green.

The telecom services sector (+4.7%) is a runaway leader thanks to news indicating Windstream (WIN 13.03, +2.50) has received clearance from the Internal Revenue Service to spin off its assets into a publically-traded REIT. Other telecom names like AT&T (T 37.26, +1.61) and Verizon (VZ 53.19, +1.61) have also rallied on speculation they could take the same route.

Outside of telecom services, the next best sector-consumer discretionary-is higher by 0.4%. Automaker Honda Motor Company (HMC 35.54, +0.36) is higher by 1.0% after beating earnings estimates.

Treasuries are on their highs with the 10-yr yield down three basis points at 2.46%.

The Consumer Confidence report for July (Briefing.com consensus 85.6) will cross the wires at 10:00 ET.
Dow: +19.21… | Nasdaq: +8.06… | S&P: +1.01…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1228/927. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1424/1203.

09:16AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +2.90. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +6.50. The stock market is on track for a modestly higher start as futures on the S&P 500 trade three points above fair value. Index futures hovered in the red through the majority of the overnight session, but climbed off their lows after European markets opened for action. At this time, indices in Germany, France, and the UK hold gains between 0.6% and 0.9%, while Italy's MIB (+1.1%) outperforms amid strength in bank shares.

Domestically, participants have received another batch of quarterly earnings with Dow components Merck (MRK 58.57, +0.60) and Pfizer (PFE 30.40, +0.30) beating their respective estimates. Corning (GLW 21.50, -0.55), however, is on track for a lower start after missing expectations.

In other corporate news, Windstream (WIN 13.65, +3.11) sports a pre-market gain of 30.1% after announcing plans to spin off its assets into a publically-traded REIT.

Also of note, the Federal Open Market Committee will begin its two-day meeting with a policy statement scheduled to be released tomorrow at 14:00 ET. In all likelihood, the statement will call for another $10 billion taper, reducing the size of monthly asset purchases to $25 billion.

Treasuries are on their highs with the 10-yr yield down three basis points at 2.45%.

09:02AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +3.00. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +6.50. The S&P 500 futures trade three points above fair value.

The Case-Shiller 20-city Home Price Index for May rose 9.3%, while a 10.0% increase had been expected by the Briefing.com consensus. This follows the previous month's increase of 10.8%.

08:30AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +3.60. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +8.70. The S&P 500 futures trade four points above fair value.

Markets in Asia ended on a mostly higher note.
  • In economic data: 
    • Japan's Retail Sales fell 0.6% year-over-year (expected -0.5%, previous -0.4%), while Household Spending dropped 3.0% year-over-year (expected -3.8%, prior -8.0%). Separately, the Unemployment Rate ticked up to 3.7% from 3.5% (consensus 3.5%) 
    • South Korea's Current Account surplus narrowed to $6.32 billion from $7.47 billion 
    • Australia's HIA New Home Sales rose 1.2% month-over-month (previous -4.3%) 
------
  • Japan's Nikkei rallied 0.6% to a six-month high. Nissan Motor gained 1.9% following its earnings beat. 
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng gained 0.9%, advancing for a sixth straight session, and finishing at levels last seen in November 2010. Property stocks saw robust gains with Sun Hung Kai Properties and Cheung Kong Holdings up 4.4% and 2.9%, respectively. 
  • China's Shanghai Composite added 0.2%, climbing to a seven-month high with shares rallying for the sixth session in a row. Technology shares led with China National Software adding 5.3%. 
Major European indices trade higher across the board with Italy's MIB (+1.3%) in the lead.
  • Economic data was limited: 
    • Germany's Import Price Index ticked up 0.2% month-over-month, as expected (previous 0.0%) 
    • Great Britain's Mortgage Approvals came in at 67,000 (expected 63,000, previous 62,000), while Mortgage Lending rose GBP2.10 billion (consensus GBP1.90 billion, previous GBP2.30 billion). Separately, Net Lending to Individuals increased GBP2.50 billion (expected GBP2.60 billion, previous GBP3.00 billion) and BoE Consumer Credit increased GBP420 million (expected GBP800 million, previous GBP720 million) 
    • Spain's Retail Sales ticked up 0.2% year-over-year (expected 1.1%, previous 0.5%) 
------
  • Great Britain's FTSE is higher by 0.6% with support from GKN. The auto parts supplier has jumped 6.4% after beating earnings estimates. On the flip side, BP is lower by 1.5% after missing revenue estimates. Peer Petrofac holds a loss of 1.0%. 
  • Germany's DAX sports an advance of 0.8%. Financials outperform with Deutsche Boerse and Muenchener Re up 1.9% and 0.7%, respectively. 
  • France's CAC trades up 0.9%. Tire maker Michelin is higher by 3.3% after reporting a 13% increase in its first-half profit. Carmaker Renault holds a loss of 3.1% after disappointing with its sales figures. 
  • Italy's MIB outperforms with a gain of 1.3%. Banca di Milano Scarl, Banco Popolare, BMPS, and Unicredit display gains between 1.5% and 3.2%.

07:59AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +2.50. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +6.20. U.S. equity futures hover near their pre-market highs amid upbeat action overseas. Participants have received another batch of quarterly earnings since yesterday's closing bell with the likes of BP (BP 49.78, -0.86), Pfizer (PFE 30.26, +0.16), Merck (MRK 58.59, +0.62), and UPS (UPS 99.90, -2.76) in focus. The S&P 500 futures trade almost three points above fair value.

Reviewing overnight developments:
  • Asian markets posted gains. China's Shanghai Composite +0.2%, Japan's Nikkei +0.6%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng +0.9% 
    • In economic data: 
      • Japan's Retail Sales fell 0.6% year-over-year (expected -0.5%, previous -0.4%), while Household Spending dropped 3.0% year-over-year (expected -3.8%, prior -8.0%). Separately, the Unemployment Rate ticked up to 3.7% from 3.5% (consensus 3.5%) 
      • South Korea's Current Account surplus narrowed to $6.32 billion from $7.47 billion 
      • Australia's HIA New Home Sales rose 1.2% month-over-month (previous -4.3%) 
    • In news: 
      • Despite the decline in retail sales, Bank of Japan member Koji Ishida voiced optimism about the country's economy and said the central bank is ready to make adjustments to its policy if needed
  • Major European indices trade higher across the board. Germany's DAX +0.5%, Great Britain's FTSE +0.5%, and France's CAC +0.6%. Elsewhere, Italy's MIB +1.1% and Spain's IBEX +0.6% 
    • Economic data was limited: 
      • Germany's Import Price Index ticked up 0.2% month-over-month, as expected (previous 0.0%) 
      • Great Britain's Mortgage Approvals came in at 67,000 (expected 63,000, previous 62,000), while Mortgage Lending rose GBP2.10 billion (consensus GBP1.90 billion, previous GBP2.30 billion). Separately, Net Lending to Individuals increased GBP2.50 billion (expected GBP2.60 billion, previous GBP3.00 billion) and BoE Consumer Credit increased GBP420 million (expected GBP800 million, previous GBP720 million) 
      • Spain's Retail Sales ticked up 0.2% year-over-year (expected 1.1%, previous 0.5%) 
    • Among news of note: 
      • Italy's MIB outperforms amid strength in bank shares. Banca di Milano Scarl, Banco Popolare, BMPS, and Unicredit display gains between 1.5% and 2.6%
In U.S. corporate news:
  • BP (BP 49.79, -0.85): -1.7% in reaction to below-consensus revenue 
  • Corning (GLW 20.20, -1.85): -8.4% after reporting a one-cent miss on better than expected revenue 
  • Herbalife (HLF 59.94, -7.54): -11.2% after missing the Capital IQ consensus estimate by two cents on below-consensus revenue. Guidance, however, was in line with analyst expectations 
  • Masco (MAS 21.45, +1.18): +5.8% after beating earnings and revenue expectations 
  • Merck (MRK 58.59, +0.62): +1.1% after beating on both metrics 
  • Pfizer (PFE 30.26, +0.16): +0.5% following its one-cent beat on better than expected revenue 
  • UBS (UBS 18.20, -0.12): -0.7% despite reporting better than expected results
  • UPS (UPS 99.90, -2.76): -2.7% after missing bottom-line estimates and lowering its guidance 
The Case-Shiller 20-City Index for May (Briefing.com consensus 10.0%) will be released at 9:00 ET, while July Consumer Confidence (consensus 85.6) will cross the wires at 10:00 ET.

06:30AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: flat. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +2.50.

06:30AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] Nikkei...15618.07...+88.70...+0.60%.  Hang Seng...24640.53...+211.90...+0.90%.

06:30AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] FTSE...6802.43...+14.40...+0.20%.  DAX...9607.35...+9.20...+0.10%.

04:10PM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market began the last week of July on a quiet note with the S&P 500 ending less than a point above its flat line. Like the benchmark index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) also posted a slim gain, while the Russell 2000 (-0.5%) and Nasdaq Composite (-0.1%) lagged throughout the session.

The major averages were awakened from their weekend slumber with an opening retreat that pressured the S&P 500 below its 20-day moving average (1975). Even though the index dipped early, only two sectors-consumer staples (-0.5%) and industrials (-0.5%)-displayed noteworthy weakness that persisted into the close.

Meanwhile, most of the remaining sectors kept pace with the broader market and climbed to highs as the afternoon wore on. The consumer discretionary sector (+0.2%) was an early laggard, but ended among the leaders with help from the likes of Netflix (NFLX 424.66, +2.80) and Priceline.com (PCLN 1239.29, +11.51). Furthermore, the sector drew strength from the retail industry, where Family Dollar (FDO 75.74, +15.08) agreed to be acquired by Dollar Tree (DLTR 54.87, +0.65) for $74.50/share, representing a 22.8% premium to Friday's closing price.

M&A activity was also the focus in another influential sector-technology (+0.2%)-with Zillow (Z 160.32, +1.46) acquiring Trulia (TRLA 65.04, +8.69) for $3.50 billion in stock, which represents roughly a 25.3% premium to Friday's closing price.

Elsewhere among tech shares, the largest sector component-Apple (AAPL 99.02, +1.35)-rallied 1.4%, but high-beta chipmakers were not nearly as fortunate. The PHLX Semiconductor Index shed 0.1% after being down as much as 1.3% during the opening hour of action.

Similar to chipmakers, biotech stocks struggled throughout the session, and while their underperformance weighed on the Nasdaq Composite, it had little impact on the health care sector. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 251.91, -2.15) lost 0.9%, while the health care sector tacked on 0.1%.

Like health care, countercyclical telecom services (+0.5%) and utilities (+1.5%) also finished in the green. Notably, the utilities sector climbed throughout the session to extend its year-to-date advance to 13.3%.

On the fixed income side, the 10-yr note made a brief appearance in the green when equities were on their lows, before sliding to a fresh low ahead of the close. The benchmark note shed four ticks with its yield climbing two basis points to 2.48%.

Participation was below average with less than 580 million shares changing hands at the NYSE.

Economic data was limited to the Pending Home Sales report for June:
  • Pending home sales fell 1.1% in June, which was worse than the 0.8% decrease forecast by the Briefing.com consensus 
    • The May reading was revised down to 6.0% from 6.1% 
Tomorrow, the Case-Shiller 20-City Index for May (Briefing.com consensus 10.0%) will be released at 9:00 ET, while July Consumer Confidence (consensus 85.6) will cross the wires at 10:00 ET. On the earnings front, BP (BP 50.64, -0.28), Honda Motor (HMC 35.18, +0.19), Pfizer (PFE 30.10, -0.09), and UPS (UPS 102.66, -0.91) will report their results ahead of the opening bell.
  • S&P 500 +7.1% YTD 
  • Nasdaq Composite +6.4% YTD 
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average +2.5% YTD 
  • Russell 2000 -2.1% YTD
Dow: +22.02… | Nasdaq: -4.65… | S&P: +0.57…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 999/1755. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1323/1720.

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