From domestic unrest to international terrorism, last week provided many headlines that could easily rattle the markets. While we did see days with volatility and declines, the major indexes remained relatively flat.[1]For the week, the Dow was down 0.84%; the S&P 500 dropped 0.65%; and the NASDAQ fell 0.64%.[2]On the international front, the MSCI EAFE remained virtually the same last week as the week before, recording a microscopic 0.0014% increase.[3]

Why didn't the markets react to the geopolitical turmoil by turning sharply negative? As we've shared before: headlines shouldn't drive long-term market behavior; economic fundamentals should. Last week, we received reports indicating the economy continues to be strong in a number of areas.   

Here is a closer look at last week's important economic news: 

Robust Retail Sales: July retail sales rose 0.6%, beating expectations and showing strength in a variety of retail categories.[4]  

Strong Business Inventories: Factory, warehouse, and retail business inventories all jumped for a combined 0.5% increase in June. The data looks promising -- inventory levels tend to rise in positive economic environments.[5]

Uneven Industrial Activity: Industrial production rose 0.2% in July. This growth was lower than expected due to declining motor vehicle production dragging on the index.[6]

Mixed Housing Data: The housing market index surged by 4 points as homebuilders experience an increasing demand from buyers.[7] But despite the growing appetite for new construction, July's housing starts slipped, in part because builders are struggling to find experienced labor and new sites to build on.[8]  

Looking Ahead

This week, we will receive more data that helps deepen our perspectives on housing market health, Q3 expectations, and the Fed's upcoming plans.[9]

In this time of dramatic headlines and geopolitical uncertainty, we want to remind you that you are in control of your wealth and financial future. No matter what the talking heads want you to believe, stay focused on market fundamentals. Please call or email if you have any questions concerning specific market data or larger, developing issues. 

ECONOMIC CALENDAR

  • Wednesday: New Home Sales
  • Thursday: Jobless Claims, Existing Home Sales
  • Friday: Durable Goods Orders, Janet Yellen Speaks

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The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies. 

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indices from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia. 

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.

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[1] https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/18/us-stocks-weekly-drop-trump-cohn.html 

[2] http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=%21DJI®ion=usa&culture=en-US

http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=SPX®ion=usa&culture=en-US 

http://performance.morningstar.com/Performance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=@CCO 

[3] https://www.msci.com/end-of-day-data-search 

[4] http://wsj-us.econoday.com/byshoweventfull.asp?fid=477714&cust=wsj-us&year=2017&lid=0&prev=/byweek.asp#top 

[5]  http://wsj-us.econoday.com/byshoweventfull.asp?fid=477806&cust=wsj-us&year=2017&lid=0&prev=/byweek.asp#top 

[6] http://wsj-us.econoday.com/byshoweventfull.asp?fid=477830&cust=wsj-us&year=2017&lid=0&prev=/byweek.asp#top 

[7] https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/15/homebuilder-sentiment-soars-on-strong-sales.html 

[8] https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/16/us-housing-starts-july-2017.html 

[9] http://wsj-us.econoday.com/byshoweventarticle.asp?fid=482635&cust=wsj-us&year=2017&lid=0&prev=/byweek.asp#top