The Week In Review
8/1/14The 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.
On Tuesday, equities ended 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%) settled 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) 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.
On Wednesday, the market finished on a mixed note with small caps displaying relative strength. The Nasdaq Composite (+0.5%) and Russell 2000 (+0.4%) registered modest gains, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.2%) and S&P 500 (+0.01%) underperformed. Despite the mixed finish, the key indices traded higher across the board at the start of the session after the advance reading of second quarter GDP surpassed estimates (4.0% versus Briefing.com consensus 3.2%). However, the early strength was short-lived with the S&P 500 sliding into red during the opening 90 minutes of action. One could argue that the inability to rally on a strong data point and better than expected earnings resulted from concerns about a potential fed funds rate hike taking place sooner than expected. To that point, Treasuries spent the session in a steady retreat and finished near their lows. The 10-yr note fell 26 ticks, sending its yield higher by nine basis points to 2.55%.
The stock market punctuated July with a broad-based retreat that sent the S&P 500 lower by 2.0% with all ten sectors ending in the red. The benchmark index posted a monthly decline of 1.5%. After upbeat earnings and economic news failed to spark a rally on Wednesday, Thursday's session invited a wave of profit taking. With the sentiment taking a turn for the worse, a batch of poor quarterly results from a handful of global players contributed to the slide. Samsung kicked things off overnight with below-consensus earnings that sent the stock lower by 3.7% in Seoul. Things did not get much better during the European session with Adidas and Deutsche Lufthansa posting respective earnings-driven losses of 15.4% and 6.4% in Frankfurt. The DAX Index, meanwhile, lost 1.9%.