On Friday, July 20th, stocks lost a small amount of ground after President Trump escalated his threats of increasing tariffs on China. However, strong quarterly earnings reports from several large companies helped provide balance in the markets. For the week, domestic indexes experienced little movement, as the S&P 500 gained 0.02%; the Dow was up 0.15%; and the NASDAQ dropped 0.07%. International stocks in the MSCI EAFE had slightly more change, with a 0.63% gain.
What We Learned Last Week
- Corporate earnings rose in the 2nd quarter
As of July 20th, 87 S&P 500 companies have released their 2nd quarter data. Of these companies, 83.9% surpassed analysts' estimated results. In fact, the earnings season is going well enough that analysts have increased their growth projections. They now expect to see companies average 22% earnings growth over the past year, up from 20.7% growth projections on July 1st.
- Retail sales increased
The most recent retail sales data indicated that consumers feel confident in the economy and labor market. June's strong growth, coupled with upward revisions to May's results, support predictions for healthy Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increases in the 2nd quarter.
- Industrial production hit a new record
In June, U.S. manufacturing and mining increased. Overall, industrial production had an annual rate that was 6.1% higher in the 2nd quarter than the 1st quarter of 2018.
- Housing starts dropped
The latest housing-start report came in far below estimates. This decline occurred across all U.S. regions, as homebuilders shared concerns about materials costs and labor shortages. However, housing start data often fluctuates from month-to-month, and reports show that the first half of 2018 is 7.4% higher than the same time period last year.
What Is Ahead This Week
Corporate earnings season continues, and, on Friday, we'll receive the initial reading of 2nd quarter GDP. Last week's retail sales and industrial production numbers contribute to very high expectations for economic growth results. Some estimates indicate that GDP could have increased as much as 5.2% in the 2nd quarter, much higher than the 2% growth between January and March.
We will watch these results closely and look for additional perspectives on the economy's underlying strength. If you'd like to know more about what may lie ahead, contact us any time.
- Monday: Existing Home Sales
- Wednesday: New Home Sales
- Thursday: Durable Goods Orders, Jobless Claims
- Friday: GDP, Consumer Sentiment
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Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.
International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors.
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 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a measure of output from U.S. factories and related consumption in the U.S. It does not include products made by U.S. companies in foreign markets.
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