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Leigh Baldwin & Co.

112 Albany Street, Cazenovia, NY 13035 | Phone: (315) 655-2964 Toll Free: 1-800-659-8044

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The Week In Review

8/25/17

 Investors pushed the stock market modestly higher on Friday to end a largely positive week on a positive note. The S&P 500 and the Dow added 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq underperformed, shedding 0.1%. For the week, the S&P 500 added 0.7%.

Arguably the most-anticipated events of the week--Friday speeches from Fed Chair Janet Yellen and ECB President Mario Draghi--turned out to be nonevents as the two central bankers provided the market with little to no new information.

Ms. Yellen praised the Fed's regulatory efforts while Mr. Draghi spoke in favor of open trade and argued for raising potential output growth, which was received as dovish. The two central bankers delivered their speeches at the annual Jackson Hole Symposium, which will wrap up on Saturday.

The U.S. Dollar Index (92.49, -0.74, -0.8%) moved sharply lower following the speeches, ending the day at its lowest level since January 2015. Meanwhile, U.S. Treasuries finished mostly higher; the 10-yr yield dropped three basis points to 2.17% while the 2-yr yield settled flat at 1.33%.

In the equity market, nine of the eleven sectors finished Friday in positive territory, but gains were modest for the most part. The telecom services group (+0.8%) showed relative strength while the remaining advancers settled with gains of 0.5% or less. Technology (-0.1%) and health care (-0.1%) were the two laggards.

Within the tech sector, chipmakers showed relative weakness, sending the PHLX Semiconductor Index lower by 0.5%. Broadcom (AVGO 245.59, -9.46) led the semiconductor retreat, dropping 3.7%, despite beating bottom-line estimates.

Meanwhile, within the health care group, biotech names underperformed, evidenced by the 0.6% decrease in the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 311.05, -1.82).

On a positive note, the Dow Jones Transportation Average, which is seen as a leading indicator, registered its third win of the week, climbing higher by 1.3%.

Reviewing Friday's economic data, which was limited to July Durable Orders:

July durable goods orders declined 6.8%, which is more than the 6.0% decrease expected by the Briefing.com consensus. The prior month's reading was revised to +6.4% (from +6.5%). Excluding transportation, durable orders increased 0.5% (Briefing.com consensus +0.5%) to follow the prior month's revised uptick of 0.1% (from 0.2%).

The upshot of the report was in the shipments and new orders for nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft. Shipments for that component, which factors into GDP computations, increased 1.0% while orders, which are considered a proxy for business spending, increased 0.4%. The key takeaway from the report, then, is that it connotes good growth news for the manufacturing sector early in the third quarter.

On Monday, investors will receive two pieces of economic data--July International Trade in Goods and Advance Wholesale Inventories. Both reports will cross the wires at 8:30 ET.

 

Nasdaq Composite +16.4% YTD

Dow Jones Industrial Average +10.4% YTD

S&P 500 +9.1% YTD

Russell 2000 +1.6% YTD

Week In Review: No News is Good News

 

No news proved to be good news for the bulls this week, giving them an opportunity to reclaim control of the U.S. equity market, which rode a two-week slide into Monday's session. The S&P 500 and the Dow finished with gains of 0.7% apiece while the Nasdaq (+0.8%) finished a tick above its peers.

 

Ten sectors settled the week in the green--real estate (+2.3%), telecom services (+2.0%), materials (+1.3%), health care (+1.1%), technology (+1.0%), utilities (+1.0%), energy (+1.0%), financials (+0.8%), consumer discretionary (+0.4%), and industrials (+0.4%)--while one group finished in the red--consumer staples (-1.0%).

 

The week's most notable headlines in chronological order:

 

Monday--S&P 500 +0.1%, Nasdaq -0.1%, Dow +0.1%

U.S. and South Korea forces begin their annual military exercise; North Korea says the exercise will only add fuel to the fire

Tuesday--S&P 500 +1.0%, Nasdaq +1.4%, Dow +0.9%

Politico reports that White House and Congressional leaders have worked together to make significant strides in framing a tax-reform proposal

Wednesday--S&P 500 -0.4%, Nasdaq -0.3%, Dow -0.4%

President Trump threatens a government shutdown if his promised barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border doesn't secure funding

This event happened on Tuesday night, but the market reacted on Wednesday

Thursday--S&P 500 -0.2%, Nasdaq -0.1%, Dow -0.1%

Grocers take a beating following news that Amazon's (AMZN) acquisition of Whole Foods Market (WFM) will close on August 28

Friday--S&P 500 X%, Nasdaq X%, Dow X%

Fed Chair Janet Yellen says any changes to financial regulations should be modest and she is open to reviewing the Volcker Rule.

ECB President Mario Draghi speaks in favor of open trade and argues for raising potential output growth

One of the most talked about news items this week was the possibility of a government shutdown. Without going into the political details, the gist for the market is simple; the probability of a government shutdown appears to be higher now than it was a week ago.

 

A shutdown may stifle economic growth a bit, but the market has traditionally held up pretty well during halts in government spending. To avoid a shutdown, Congress will need to pass a new spending bill, and President Trump will have to sign it, by the end of September.

 

Following this week's events, the fed funds futures market now points to the June 2018 FOMC meeting as the most likely time for the next rate-hike announcement with an implied probability of 58.0%. Last week, the market expected the next rate hike to occur in March 2018 with an implied probability of 51.5%.