Updated: 07-19-2018

The Market at 04:25PM ET
Dow: -134.79… | Nasdaq: -29.15… | S&P: -11.13…
NASDAQ Vol: 1.87 bln… Adv: 1565… Dec: 1334…
NYSE Vol: 735.1 mln… Adv: 1757… Dec: 1169…

Moving the Market

Some profit taking following two straight days of gains for the S&P 500

Heavily-weighted financial sector slides; BNY Mellon (BK) paces retreat after earnings

White House walks back President Trump's criticism of the Fed

Sector Watch
Strong: Energy, Utilities, Real Estate
Weak: Financials, Materials, Health Care, Telecom Services

04:25PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] U.S. equities stumbled on Thursday, breaking a five-session winning streak for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which finished with a loss of 0.5%. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite declined as well, losing 0.4% apiece, but the small-cap Russell 2000 managed to advance, adding 0.6%.

Trading was choppy at times, but much of the day was spent in a sideways trend. The S&P 500 traded between 2812.05 (-0.1%) and 2799.77 (-0.6%).

Investors received a heavy dose of corporate news, most of which was earnings related. IBM (IBM 149.24, +4.72, +3.3%) and Taiwan Semi (TSM 39.81, +1.40, +3.6%) climbed after reporting their quarterly results, but American Express (AXP 100.17, -2.81, -2.7%), eBay (EBAY 34.11, -3.84, -10.1%), Travelers (TRV 125.18, -4.82, -3.7%), BNY Mellon (BK 52.73, -2.91, -5.2%), Philip Morris (PM 80.90, -1.25, -1.5%), and Alcoa (AA 41.56, -6.40, -13.3%) all sold off.

Outside of earnings, Walt Disney (DIS 112.13, +1.44, +1.3%) rallied following news that Comcast (CMSA 34.91, +0.87, +2.6%) will not counter Disney's offer for 21st Century Fox's (FOXA 46.65, -0.03, -0.1%) entertainment assets. Conversely, AbbVie (ABBV 89.95, -4.45, -4.7%) fell after Citron Research called it "the next great drug short."

Nine of eleven sectors finished Thursday in the red, with financials (-1.4%) pacing the retreat, trimming its weekly gain to a still impressive 2.0%. The telecom services space (-1.1%) was the next-worst performer, but no other group lost more than 0.6%. On the flip side, utilities (+0.9%) and real estate (+1.0%) were the two advancers.

U.S. Treasuries rallied on Thursday, pushing yields lower across the curve; the benchmark 10-yr yield dropped three basis points to 2.85%.

In Washington, President Trump criticized the Fed in a recorded CNBC interview, saying he's "not thrilled" about interest rate hikes. Mr. Trump's comments were seen as controversial as presidents typically refrain from speaking on monetary policy. The White House quickly issued a response to the criticism, saying the president respects the Fed's independence.

During the same interview, Mr. Trump also commented on the strengthening dollar, saying it puts the U.S. at a disadvantage. The U.S. Dollar Index was up 0.4% at a 12-month high before the president's comments, but gave it all back and then some in a knee-jerk response. The Index was back in the green at Wall Street's closing bell, however, up 0.2% at 95.00.

Trade-related matters were also on radar after President Trump threatened "tremendous retribution" against the European Union if his meeting with EU officials next week doesn't produce positive results. Separately, China's foreign ministry responded to Wednesday comments made by NEC Director Larry Kudlow, saying Mr. Kudlow's assertion that Chinese President Xi is refusing to compromise on Beijing's trade policies was "shocking" and "bogus."

With today's losses, the S&P 500 enters Friday's session with a slim weekly gain of 0.1%.

Reviewing Thursday's economic data, which included weekly Initial Claims, the Philadelphia Fed Index for July, and the Conference Board's Leading Economic Index for June:

  • The latest weekly initial jobless claims count totaled 207,000, while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 220,000. Today's tally was below the revised prior week count of 215,000 (from 214,000). As for continuing claims, they increased to 1.751 million from a revised count of 1.743 million (from 1.739 million).
    • The key takeaway from this report is that it covers the period in which the survey for the employment situation report for July is conducted, so the low level of claims is bound to feed expectations for another month of strong nonfarm payrolls growth.
  • The Philadelphia Fed Survey for July rose to 25.7 (Briefing.com consensus 22.0) from an unrevised 19.9 in June.
    • The key takeaway from the report, though, may be that the diffusion index for future general activity decreased for the fourth straight month, falling from 34.8 to 29.0.
  • The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index increased 0.5% in June (Briefing.com consensus +0.4%), and the May reading was revised to 0.0% from +0.2%.
    • The key takeaway from the report is that strength among the leading indicators remained widespread; however, the 2.5% increase in the index over the first half of 2018 was slower than the 3.2% growth rate seen over the second half of 2017.

Looking ahead, investors will not receive any economic data on Friday.

  • Nasdaq Composite +13.4% YTD
  • Russell 2000 +10.8% YTD
  • S&P 500 +4.9% YTD
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average +1.4% YTD
Dow: -134.79… | Nasdaq: -29.15… | S&P: -11.13…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1565/1334. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1757/1169.

03:40PM ET
[BRIEFING.COM]
  • Energy Settlement Prices:
    • August Crude Oil futures rose $0.70 (1.02%) to $69.43/barrel
    • August Natural Gas settled $0.05 higher (1.84%) at $2.77/MMBtu
      • Natural gas inventory showed a build of 46 bcf vs a build of 51 bcf in the prior week
        • Working gas in storage was 2,249 Bcf as of Friday, July 13, 2018, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 46 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 710 Bcf less than last year at this time and 535 Bcf below the five-year average of 2,784 Bcf. At 2,249 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
    • July RBOB Gasoline settled $0.01 lower (-0.49%) at $2.04/gallon
    • July Heating oil futures settled unch at $2.09/gallon
  • Agriculture Settlement Prices:
    • Sept corn settled $0.04 higher at $3.51/bushel
    • Sept wheat settled $0.09 higher at $5.03/bushel
    • Aug soybeans settled $0.05 higher at $8.47/bushel
  • Metals Settlement Prices:
    • Aug gold settled today's session down $3.80 (0.31%) at $1224.10/oz
    • Sept silver settled today's session $0.06 lower (1.16%) at $15.40/oz
    • Sept copper settled $0.06 lower (2.17%) at $2.70/lb
Dow: -115.21… | Nasdaq: -25.22… | S&P: -9.79…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1685/1274. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1725/1204.

03:00PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages enter the final hour of trading with losses of around 0.3% apiece.

Only three sectors are in the green -- energy (+0.2%), utilities (+1.1%), and real estate (+1.1%). As for the other eight, most groups are down between 0.1% and 0.4%, although the heavily-weighted financials (-1.3%) and the lightly-weighted materials (-0.7%) and telecom (-0.9%) sectors show particular weakness.

In Washington, the White House walked back earlier comments, saying President Trump does indeed respect the independence of the Federal Reserve. In an interview with CNBC, the president said he's "not thrilled" about interest rate hikes.

Dow: -109.08… | Nasdaq: -22.97… | S&P: -8.64…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1636/1204. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1776/1139.

02:25PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] The White House recently released a statement to CNBC following the airing of an interview with President Donald Trump wherein the president was openly critical of the Federal Reserve's recent interest rate hikes. The statement didn't garner as much of a reaction from the markets as the president's initial comments did -- a reaction which was muted in its own regard; the White House statement attempted to quash the president's criticism of the governing body, suggesting the president respects the Federal Reserve's independence. All told, the major averages still trade firmly within their daily ranges.

Checking in on the S&P 500 sectors once more, the widely-covered financial (-1.2%) group trims its weekly gain on a steady dose of declines on Thursday. Aside from financials, the materials (-0.6%) and lightly-weighted telecom services (-0.8%) sectors also trade in the red on the penultimate day of the week.

For its part, Materials SPDR (XLB 58.54, +0.22, +0.4%) deviates from the S&P 500 sector move. The group as a whole has been pressured by today's losses in precious metals, as well as weakness in steel names U.S. Steel (X 37.34, -0.42, -1.1%) and Steel Dynamics (STLD 46.96, -0.95, -2.0%). It may be worth noting that copper and silver futures lost 2.2% and 1.2%, respectively.

On the flip side of the coin, the consumer discretionary (+0.2%) group shows relative strength. 52-week highs in Walt Disney (DIS 112.52, +1.83, +1.7%), TJX (TJX 97.61, +0.99, +1.0%), and Darden Restaurants (DRI 112.08, -0.07, -0.1%) show gains are widespread across the group even in the face of some eye-catching losses out of Netflix (NFLX 365.69, -9.44, -2.5%) and Charter Comm (CHTR 290.99, -8.61, -2.9%).

Dow: -84.66… | Nasdaq: -13.69… | S&P: -4.01…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1634/1190. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1795/1103.

01:55PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] About 30 minutes ago the broader market wavered after comments from President Donald Trump about the Fed's recent rate hikes. President Trump admitted his concerns in an interview on CNBC about the Federal Reserve's recent bout of rate hikes. The broader market jumped higher after the comments, but quickly returned to pre-comment levels and has been mostly flat since the initial knee-jerk reaction.

Gold futures settled down just 0.3% on Thursday at $1,224/oz as the dollar turned negative following President Trump's comments, stating his displeasure of the Fed's rate hikes. The yellow metal was down more than 1% at one point today, but trimmed its losses as the dollar began to fall moments ago. Despite trimming its losses, though, gold still ended at a 1-year low.

For its part then, the U.S. Dollar Index now shows losses of 0.1% at 94.98 after being up on Thursday at one point about 0.6%.

Dow: -94.46… | Nasdaq: -16.67… | S&P: -6.98…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1558/1248. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1728/1155.

01:30PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] The major U.S. indices are off their worst levels of the day, but remain under pressure at this time. 

A look inside the Dow Jones Industrial Average shows Travelers (TRV 125.87, -4.13), American Express (AXP 100.19, -2.79), & DowDuPont (DWDP 65.61, -0.98) are underperforming. Travelers & American Express are both lower after reporting mixed second quarter results, while DowDuPont is falling in tandem with broader weakness in the materials sector. 

Conversely, IBM (IBM 148.62, +4.10) is the best-performing Dow component after reporting better than expected second quarter results and reaffirming its earnings guidance for 2018. 

For the week, the DJIA is currently +0.33%. 

Dow: -115.69… | Nasdaq: -24.13… | S&P: -9.38…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1496/1271. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1722/1152.

01:00PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] Investors are taking some profits today, putting the Dow's five-session win streak in jeopardy. The industrial average is currently down 0.4%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq show losses of 0.3%. Stocks extended opening losses in the first half hour of trading, but buyers came in once the S&P 500 neared the 2800 mark. Small caps are outperforming, with the Russell 2000 up 0.4%.

A host of companies reported their quarterly results between yesterday's close and today's open. For the most part, the reactions have been negative, although IBM (IBM 148.57, +4.05) has added 2.8% after beating bottom-line estimates. American Express (AXP 100.18, -2.80, -2.7%), eBay (EBAY 35.23, -2.72, -7.2%), Travelers (TRV 126.01, -3.97, -3.1%), Philip Morris (PM 79.49, -2.65, -3.2%), BNY Mellon (BK 52.46, -3.18, -5.7%), and Domino's Pizza (DPZ 280.00, -3.68, -1.3%) are all lower after releasing their earnings results.

American Express and BNY Mellon have weighed on the financial sector, which is today's worst-performing group with a loss of 1.3% -- trimming its weekly gain to 2.2%. Elsewhere within the space, Wells Fargo (WFC 56.62, +0.05, +0.1%) is showing relative strength following a Wall Street Journal report that it is in the process of refunding tens of millions of dollars worth of products added to customers' accounts without their full understanding.

In other corporate news, Walt Disney (DIS 113.65, +2.96, +2.7%) is up following news that Comcast (CMSA 35.06, +1.02, +3.0%) will not counter Disney's offer for 21st Century Fox's (FOXA 45.97, -0.71, -1.5%) entertainment assets; AbbVie (ABBV 90.00, -4.39, -4.7%) is down after Citron Research called it "the next great drug short"; and Tesla (TLSA 318.13, -5.81, -1.8%) is lower after shares were downgraded to 'Underperform' at Needham.

Trade-related matters are back in focus today after President Donald Trump threatened "tremendous retribution" against the European Union if his meeting next week with EU officials doesn't produce positive results. The president has plans to extend tariffs to EU automobiles and auto parts. Separately, China's foreign ministry department responded to comments made by NEC Director Larry Kudlow on Wednesday, saying Mr. Kudlow's assertion that Chinese President Xi isn't interested in compromising in trade negations with the U.S. is "shocking" and "bogus."

The U.S. Dollar has strengthened once again today, putting the U.S. Dollar Index (+0.4%, 95.25) at its highest level in 12 months and on course for its third straight advance. The dollar's strength has weighed on dollar-denominated commodities though, including metals like gold (-1.0%, $1216/oz), silver (-2.0%, $15.27/oz), and copper (-2.3%, $2.69/oz), all of which are at one-year lows. Crude futures got off to a lower start too, but are now roughly flat at $67.61/bbl.

In the bond market, U.S. Treasuries are rallying today, pushing yields lower across the curve. The yield on the benchmark 10-yr note is down three basis points at 2.84%, while the yield on the 2-yr note is down two basis points at 2.59%. That puts the 2-10 spread at 25 bps, near its lowest level in a over a decade.

Reviewing today's economic data, which included weekly Initial Claims, the Philadelphia Fed Index for July, and the Conference Board's Leading Economic Index for June:

  • The latest weekly initial jobless claims count totaled 207,000, while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 220,000. Today's tally was below the revised prior week count of 215,000 (from 214,000). As for continuing claims, they increased to 1.751 million from a revised count of 1.743 million (from 1.739 million).
    • The key takeaway from this report is that it covers the period in which the survey for the employment situation report for July is conducted, so the low level of claims is bound to feed expectations for another month of strong nonfarm payrolls growth.
  • The Philadelphia Fed Survey for July rose to 25.7 (Briefing.com consensus 22.0) from an unrevised 19.9 in June.
    • The key takeaway from the report, though, may be that the diffusion index for future general activity decreased for the fourth straight month, falling from 34.8 to 29.0.
  • The Conference Board's Leading Economic Index increased 0.5% in June (Briefing.com consensus +0.4%), and the May reading was revised to 0.0% from +0.2%.
    • The key takeaway from the report is that strength among the leading indicators remained widespread; however, the 2.5% increase in the index over the first half of 2018 was slower than the 3.2% growth rate seen over the second half of 2017.
Dow: -102.57… | Nasdaq: -29.48… | S&P: -9.89…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1475/1285. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1636/1221.

12:25PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices have extended their losses in recent action, pulling back from their highs of the day. The S&P 500 is now down 0.3%, and the Nasdaq and the Dow show similar losses. However, the small-cap Russell 2000 has remained relatively strong, now sporting a gain of 0.5%.

The U.S. dollar is at a one-year high against the yuan following another weaker fix from the People's Bank of China, helping to push the U.S. Dollar Index -- which measures the greenback against a basket of foreign currencies -- to its highest level in 12 months. The U.S. Dollar Index is currently up 0.4% at 95.24.

A strengthening dollar has weighed on many dollar-denominated commodities, including gold (-0.9%, $1217/oz), silver (-1.9%, $15.29/oz), and copper (-2.0%, $2.70/oz), all of which are hovering at one-year lows. Crude futures have rebounded from a negative start though, now up 0.3% at $67.97/bbl.

Dow: -86.15… | Nasdaq: -19.94… | S&P: -8.10…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1521/1237. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1656/1174.

11:55AM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices continue drifting sideways, hovering a tick below their unchanged levels. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 0.2% and in danger of ending a five-session win streak. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 is down 0.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite is lower by 0.1%.

The consumer discretionary sector is modestly higher, sporting a gain of 0.3%. Within the group, Dow component Walt Disney (DIS 114.08, +3.37) is up 3.0% following news that Comcast (CMSA 35.12, +1.07, +3.1%) will not counter Disney's offer for 21st Century Fox's (FOXA 45.89. -0.78, -1.7%) entertainment assets.

In Europe, the major indices ended Thursday mixed; the UK's FTSE added 0.1%, but Germany's DAX and France's CAC lost 0.6% apiece. UK equities benefited from a sharp drop in the British pound, which makes UK goods more affordable for overseas buyers. The pound is currently down 0.8% against the dollar at 1.3272.

Dow: -68.35… | Nasdaq: -5.39… | S&P: -6.02…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1544/1194. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1658/1143.

11:25AM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages have continued ticking higher, inching closer to their opening levels. The S&P 500 is now down just 0.2%.

Eight sectors are in the red this morning, including financials (-0.9%), industrials (-0.4%), energy (-0.1%), materials (-1.0%), technology (-0.1%), health care (-0.5%), consumer staples (-0.3%), and telecoms (-0.6%), and three are in the green, including consumer discretionary (+0.3%), utilities (+0.7%), and real estate (+0.7%).

In the bond market, U.S. Treasuries are flat to slightly higher, pushing the yield on the benchmark 10-yr note lower by two basis points to 2.85%.

Dow: -72.90… | Nasdaq: -11.83… | S&P: -7.11…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1498/1225. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1616/1176.

11:00AM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices extended their opening losses though the first 30 minutes of today's session, but the bleeding has stopped for the time being. The S&P 500 is down 0.3%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 0.4%, and the Nasdaq Composite is lower by 0.3%.

The heavily-weighted financial sector is hovering at the bottom of today's leaderboard with a loss of 0.9%. Within the space, Wells Fargo (WFC 56.52, -0.05) has held up relatively well following a Wall Street Journal report that it's in the process of refunding tens of millions of dollars worth of add-on products ranging from pet insurance to legal services.

Meanwhile, BNY Mellon (BK 52.54, -3.10) is down 5.6% despite reporting above-consensus earnings this morning.

Elsewhere, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that Papa John's (PZZA 52.18, -1.42) founder and recently ousted chairman held merger talks with Wendy's (WEN 17.59, -0.18), but CNBC has followed up, recently reporting that those talks are not ongoing.

Dow: -89.79… | Nasdaq: -23.90… | S&P: -9.26…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1338/1369. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1550/1187.

10:35AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM]
  • Commodities are starting the day off slightly higher
    • Overall, commodities, as measured by the Bloomberg Commodity Index, are currently +0.04% at 83.15
  • Dollar index is currently +0.4% at 95.19
  • Looking at energy
    • Aug WTI crude oil futures are now +$0.81 at $68.56/barrel following Saudi headline, which says talk of being in a market oversupply has been said without basis
    • In other energy, Aug natural gas is +$0.03 at $2.75/MMBtu
      • Nat gas spike a moment ago following the weekly EIA storage data
      • Natural gas inventory showed a build of 46 bcf vs a build of 51 bcf in the prior week
        • Working gas in storage was 2,249 Bcf as of Friday, July 13, 2018, according to EIA estimates. This represents a net increase of 46 Bcf from the previous week. Stocks were 710 Bcf less than last year at this time and 535 Bcf below the five-year average of 2,784 Bcf. At 2,249 Bcf, total working gas is within the five-year historical range.
  • Moving on to metals
    • Aug gold is currently -$11.40 at $1216.50/oz, while Jul silver is -$0.29 at $15.29/oz
    • Jul copper is now -$0.06 at $2.70/lb
Dow: -115.01… | Nasdaq: -37.70… | S&P: -12.78…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1164/1515. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1403/1313.

10:00AM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices have extended their opening losses, with the S&P 500 going from -0.2% to -0.5%.

Just in, the Conference Board's Leading Economic Index increased 0.5% in June (Briefing.com consensus +0.4%), and the May reading was revised to 0.0% from +0.2%.

Dow: -140.44… | Nasdaq: -36.31… | S&P: -13.33…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 945/1660. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1158/1499.

09:40AM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages are modestly lower in the opening minutes, showing losses of 0.1%-0.2% apiece.

Sectors are pretty evenly mixed between advancers and decliners. The energy (+0.3%) and utilities (+0.7%) sectors are the top performers, while the financials (-0.7%), materials (-0.8%), and consumer staples (-1.0%) groups are at the back of the pack. Treasuries are flat, with the 10-yr yield unchanged at 2.87%.

As a reminder, the Conference Board's Leading Economic Index for June (Briefing.com consensus +0.4%) will be released at 10:00 AM ET.

Dow: -56.81… | Nasdaq: -9.18… | S&P: -5.54…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 986/1494. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1031/1513.

09:13AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -8.50. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -25.00.

The stock market is on course for a modestly lower open, as the S&P 500 futures are trading nine points, or 0.3%, below fair value.

In corporate news, IBM (IBM 148.09, +3.57, +2.5%), eBay (EBAY 34.69, -3.26, -8.6%), Philip Morris (PM 77.12, -5.03, -6.1%), and American Express (AXP 99.80, -3.18, -3.1%), and Travelers (TRV 126.00, -4.00) are mostly lower after reporting their quarterly results; Cisco Systems (CSCO 42.75, +0.54, +1.3%) is up after Amazon (AMZN 1830.01, -12.91, -0.7%) denied reports that it's looking to enter the data switches market; and 21st Century Fox (FOXA 45.97, -0.71, -1.5%) is down after Comcast (CMCSA 35.00, +0.96, +2.8%) said it's ending its pursuit of Fox's assets.

On the data front, the latest weekly initial jobless claims count totaled 207,000, while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 220,000. Today's tally was below the revised prior week count of 215,000 (from 214,000). As for continuing claims, they increased to 1.751 million from a revised count of 1.743 million (from 1.739 million). Separately, the Philadelphia Fed Survey for July rose to 25.7 (Briefing.com consensus 22.0) from an unrevised 19.9 in June. Today's last economic report, the Conference Board's Leading Economic Index for June (Briefing.com consensus +0.4%), will be released at 10:00 AM ET.

Elsewhere, the U.S. Dollar Index is up once again, adding 0.5% to 95.34, which marks a fresh 12-month high.

The strengthening of the dollar has weighed on dollar-denominated commodities, including metals like gold (-1.1%, $1215/oz), silver (-2.1%, $15.25/oz), and copper (-2.3%, $2.70/oz), all of which are at one-year lows. WTI crude futures are also under pressure, dropping 0.5% to $67.41/bbl, which marks their lowest level in a month.


08:51AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -8.80. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -23.30.

The S&P 500 futures are trading nine points, or 0.3%, below fair value.

Equity indices in the Asia-Pacific region ended Thursday on a mostly lower note. Another weaker fix from the People's Bank of China paved the way for the dollar to hit a one-year high against the yuan (6.775). A Chinese foreign exchange regulator reportedly noted that Chinese banks purchased less foreign currency in June, showing more willingness to purchase the weakening yuan. The Chinese press reported that the country's government is planning to raise certain salaries as part of an effort to grow the middle class. Australia reported better than expected employment data for June, but the news gave just a short-lived boost to the Australian dollar (-0.7%; 0.7347).

  • In economic data:
    • Japan's June adjusted trade surplus JPY700 million (expected surplus of JPY150 billion; last deficit of JPY300 billion). June Imports +2.5% year-over-year (expected 5.3%; last 14.0%) and June Exports +6.7% year-over-year (expected 7.0%; last 8.1%)
    • Australia's June Employment Change 50,900 (expected 16,700; last 13,500) and Full Employment Change 41,200 (last -19,900). June Unemployment Rate 5.4%, as expected (last 5.4%) and June Participation Rate 65.7% (expected 65.5%; last 65.5%)
    • Hong Kong's June Unemployment Rate 2.8% (last 2.8%)

---Equity Markets---

  • Japan's Nikkei shed 0.1%. Shiseido, Meiji Holdings, Terumo, Kikkoman, Familymart, Fast Retailing, Asahi Group Holdings, Chugai Pharmaceutical, KDDI, and TOTO posted losses between 1.5% and 4.8%.
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.4%, pausing just above its July low. Geely Automobile was the weakest performer, falling 3.7% while Want Want China and China Mengniu Dairy lost near 3.5% apiece. Property names like China Overseas, Hang Lung Properties, China Construction Bank, and Sino Land dropped between 0.6% and 2.7%.
  • China's Shanghai Composite ended lower by 0.5%. China Eastern Airlines, Aurora Optoelectronics, China Southern Airlines, Keda Group, and Shanghai Yuyuan Tourist Mart fell between 5.0% and 6.6%.
  • India's Sensex slipped 0.1%. Kotak Mahindra Bank slumped 3.7% while Hero MotoCorp, Tata Steel, Sun Pharma, Tata Consultancy, and Infosys logged losses between 0.4% and 1.2%.

Major European indices trade in mixed fashion with the UK's FTSE (+0.2%) showing relative strength amid weakness in the British pound (-0.8%; 1.2975). Brexit Minister Dominic Raab said the British government needs to prepare for all possibilities, adding that details of a 'no-deal' plan will be released soon. The European Union is reportedly preparing a list of imports from the U.S. that could be subject to tariffs if European Commission President Jean Claude-Juncker's visit to Washington fails to yield any results. Mr. Juncker will visit the White House on Wednesday. Swiss Finance Minister Ulrich Maurer reiterated the view that the franc remains overvalued against the euro.

  • In economic data:
    • UK's June Retail Sales -0.5% month-over-month (expected 0.1%; last 1.4%); +2.9% year-over-year (expected 3.7%; last 4.1%). June Core Retail Sales -0.6% month-over-month (expected -0.3%; last 1.4%); +3.0% year-over-year (expected 3.5%; last 4.5%)
    • Swiss June trade surplus CHF2.59 billion (expected CHF3.22 billion; last CHF2.82 billion)

---Equity Markets---

  • UK's FTSE is higher by 0.2%. Consumer names are among the leaders with Unilever, Imperial Brands, Tesco, Sainsbury, Marks & Spencer, British American Tobacco, Next, Barratt Developments, Diageo, and Persimmon hold gains between 0.7% and 2.3%. Babcock International has slumped 11.7% after cutting its outlook.
  • Germany's DAX is down 0.4% amid losses in most components. SAP, Continental, Lufthansa, BASF, and Siemens are down between 0.3% and 1.9% while Daimler and Volkswagen outperform with respective gains of 0.6% and 0.7%.
  • France's CAC has given up 0.4%. Publicis Groupe has slumped 7.2% after reporting weak results while Kering, Renault, Louis Vuitton, Societe Generale, and Hermes show losses between 0.4% and 1.4%. Carrefour outperforms, rising 1.1%.

08:33AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -10.00. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -27.80.

The S&P 500 futures are trading 10 points, or 0.3%, below fair value.

Just in, the latest weekly initial jobless claims count totaled 207,000, while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 220,000. Today's tally was below the revised prior week count of 215,000 (from 214,000). As for continuing claims, they increased to 1.751 million from a revised count of 1.743 million (from 1.739 million).

Separately, the Philadelphia Fed Survey for July rose to 25.7 (Briefing.com consensus 22.0) from an unrevised 19.9 in June.


08:00AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -9.50. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -25.80.

Stocks are on course for a lower start to today's session following back-to-back victories on Tuesday and Wednesday. The S&P 500 futures are down 0.3%, trading 10 points below fair value.

Away from equities, the U.S. Dollar Index is up once again, adding 0.5% to 95.28, which marks a fresh 12-month high.

The strengthening of the dollar has weighed on dollar-denominated commodities, including metals like gold (-1.1%, $1215/oz), silver (-2.1%, $15.26/oz), and copper (-2.8%, $2.68/oz), all of which are at one-year lows. WTI crude futures are also under pressure, dropping 0.8% to $68.26/bbl, which marks their lowest level in a month.

In trade-related news, China's foreign ministry spokeswoman responded to comments made by NEC Director Larry Kudlow on Wednesday, saying Mr. Kudlow's assertion that Chinese President Xi isn't interested in compromising in trade negations with the U.S. is "shocking" and "bogus."

Market participants will receive several economic reports today. Both the weekly Initial Claims report (Briefing.com consensus 220K) and the Philadelphia Fed Index for July (Briefing.com consensus 22.0) will be released at 8:30 AM ET, while the Conference Board's Leading Economic Index for June (Briefing.com consensus +0.4%) will cross the wires at 10:00 AM ET.

On the earnings front, tech-giant Microsoft (MSFT) will be reporting its quarterly results following today's closing bell.

In U.S. corporate news:

  • IBM (IBM 148.40, +3.88): +2.7% after reporting above-consensus earnings.
  • American Express (AXP 100.15, -2.83): -2.8% despite reporting better-than-expected earnings.
  • eBay (EBAY 35.26, -2.69): -7.1% after issuing below-consensus revenue guidance for Q3 and FY18.

Reviewing overnight developments:

  • Equity indices in the Asia-Pacific region ended Thursday on a mostly lower note. Japan's Nikkei -0.1%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng -0.4%, China's Shanghai Composite -0.5%, India's Sensex -0.1%.
    • In economic data:
      • Japan's June adjusted trade surplus JPY700 million (expected surplus of JPY150 billion; last deficit of JPY300 billion). June Imports +2.5% year-over-year (expected 5.3%; last 14.0%) and June Exports +6.7% year-over-year (expected 7.0%; last 8.1%)
      • Australia's June Employment Change 50,900 (expected 16,700; last 13,500) and Full Employment Change 41,200 (last -19,900). June Unemployment Rate 5.4%, as expected (last 5.4%) and June Participation Rate 65.7% (expected 65.5%; last 65.5%)
      • Hong Kong's June Unemployment Rate 2.8% (last 2.8%)
    • In news:
      • Another weaker fix from the People's Bank of China paved the way for the dollar to hit a one-year high against the yuan (6.775). A Chinese foreign exchange regulator reportedly noted that Chinese banks purchased less foreign currency in June, showing more willingness to purchase the weakening yuan.
      • The Chinese press reported that the country's government is planning to raise certain salaries as part of an effort to grow the middle class.
      • Australia reported better than expected employment data for June, but the news gave just a short-lived boost to the Australian dollar (-0.7%; 0.7347).
  • Major European indices trade in mixed fashion with the UK's FTSE (+0.3%) showing relative strength amid weakness in the British pound (-0.8%; 1.2975). Germany's DAX -0.4%, France's CAC -0.4%.
    • In economic data:
      • UK's June Retail Sales -0.5% month-over-month (expected 0.1%; last 1.4%); +2.9% year-over-year (expected 3.7%; last 4.1%). June Core Retail Sales -0.6% month-over-month (expected -0.3%; last 1.4%); +3.0% year-over-year (expected 3.5%; last 4.5%)
      • Swiss June trade surplus CHF2.59 billion (expected CHF3.22 billion; last CHF2.82 billion)
    • In news:
      • Brexit Minister Dominic Raab said the British government needs to prepare for all possibilities, adding that details of a 'no-deal' plan will be released soon.
      • The European Union is reportedly preparing a list of imports from the U.S. that could be subject to tariffs if European Commission President Jean Claude-Juncker's visit to Washington fails to yield any results. Mr. Juncker will visit the White House on Wednesday.
      • Swiss Finance Minister Ulrich Maurer reiterated the view that the franc remains overvalued against the euro.

07:33AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -8.50. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -23.00.

06:57AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -9.30. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -28.30.

06:57AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] Nikkei...22765...-29.50...-0.10%.  Hang Seng...28011...-106.60...-0.40%.

06:57AM ET
[BRIEFING.COM] FTSE...7678.88...+2.60...+0.00%.  DAX...12715.56...-50.40...-0.40%.

04:25PM ET

[BRIEFING.COM] The market ticked higher on Wednesday, with financial and industrial shares doing the heavy lifting. The S&P 500 and the Dow advanced 0.2% and 0.3%, respectively, but the tech-heavy Nasdaq lagged, closing just a tick below its unchanged mark and narrowly missing a new record. The small-cap Russell 2000 added 0.3%.

Two sectors stood out on Wednesday -- financials and industrials. They were the only sectors to register a gain or loss of more than 1.0%, closing higher by 1.5% and 1.1%, respectively. Consumer staples was the weakest sector, losing 0.7%, but no other group advanced or declined more than 0.5%.

The financial sector was helped by Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B 200.44, +10.03), which rallied 5.3% after eliminating a restriction on its ability to buy back its own shares. Morgan Stanley (MS 50.56, +1.38) was also a positive influence, climbing 2.8% on better-than-expected Q2 results. U.S. Bancorp (USB 50.72, -0.58) declined 1.1%, however, despite beating bottom-line estimates.

Meanwhile, in the industrial space, transports were particularly strong following upbeat earnings and guidance from CSX (CSX 69.00, +4.56) and United Continental (UAL 79.00, +6.38); the two companies added 7.1% and 8.8%, respectively. Likewise, industrial supplier Grainger (GWW 338.99, +34.03) spiked 11.2% after also beating earnings estimates and raising its guidance.

In other corporate news, the EU hit Alphabet (GOOG 1195.88, -2.92) with a $5 billion antitrust fine for allegedly using its Android mobile operating system to stifle competition, and Papa John's (PZZA 53.60, +2.06) shares spiked 4.0% on a Wall Street Journal report that its founder and recently ousted chairman held merger talks with Wendy's (WEN 17.77, +0.34).

Fed Chair Jerome Powell wrapped up his semiannual appearance on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, testifying before the House Financial Services Committee. His appearance didn't produce any new insights into monetary policy, but Mr. Powell did express concern about cryptocurrencies, which he believes pose serious risks to investors.

In trade-related news, NEC Director Larry Kudlow said in an interview with CNBC that trade talks with China have stalled, but the administration is making "good progress" in negotiations with Mexico. The market's reaction was largely muted -- somewhat surprising considering the knee-jerk reactions that trade-related headlines have gotten as of late.

WTI crude futures were volatile on Wednesday, reversing a loss of 2.6% to finish higher by 1.6% at $68.70 per barrel. The reversal, which came despite the government's weekly inventory report showing a build of 5.8 million barrels, was helped by reports of an Iranian-backed Houthi movement attack on a Saudi Aramco refinery in Riyadh.

Reviewing Wednesday's economic data, which included June Housing Starts and Building Permits, the latest issue of the Fed's Beige Book, and the weekly MBA Mortgage Applications Index:

  • Housing starts declined to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 1.173 million units in June (Briefing.com consensus 1.318 million), down from a revised 1.337 million units in May (from 1.350 million). Building permits declined to a seasonally adjusted 1.273 million in June (Briefing.com consensus 1.330 million), down from an unrevised 1.301 million in May.
    • The key takeaway from the report is that it reflects weakness at a time when there should be strength. The assumption embedded in the weak starts figure is that it likely reflects the difficulty builders are having finding labor, as well as the constraints they are facing with higher land, labor, and material costs.
  • According to the Fed's Beige Book, economic activity continued to expand across the United States, with 10 of the 12 Federal Reserve Districts reporting moderate or modest growth. The outliers were the Dallas District, which reported strong growth driven in part by the energy sector, and the St. Louis District where growth was described as slight.
  • The weekly MBA Mortgage Applications Index decreased 2.5% after also declining 2.5% last week.

Looking ahead, the weekly Initial Claims report, the Philadelphia Fed Index for July, and the Conference Board's Leading Economic Index for June will be released on Thursday.

  • Nasdaq Composite +13.8% YTD
  • Russell 2000 +10.2% YTD
  • S&P 500 +5.3% YTD
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average +1.9% YTD
Dow: +79.40… | Nasdaq: -0.67… | S&P: +6.07…
NASDAQ Adv/Dec 1599/1349. …NYSE Adv/Dec 1619/1341.

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