Market Recap - An Ugly Week on Wall Street

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Stocks sold off sharply this week, sending the S&P 500 lower by 4.1%. Fears over potentially weakening economic and earnings growth helped fuel the selling, which left stocks at three-month lows going into the third quarter earnings season. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 4.2% this week, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 3.7%.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its 2018 and 2019 global growth outlook to 3.7% from 3.9% on Tuesday, citing trade uncertainties that include tariffs between the U.S. and China, a pending Brexit deal, and the new trilateral agreement between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico that's supposed to replace NAFTA.

On a related note, President Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have reportedly agreed to meet at next month's G-20 summit with hopes of resolving their trade conflict.

A third quarter earnings warning from specialty chemicals company PPG Industries (PPG) weighed on sentiment this week, dampening hopes of another strong quarter. Financial giants JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Citigroup (C), and Wells Fargo (WFC) kicked off the Q3 earnings season on Friday with mixed results; JPM and C beat bottom-line estimates, but WFC missed. The financial sector initially had a positive reaction to the earnings results on Friday, but later rolled over to close the week with a total loss of 5.6%. A curve-flattening trade in the bond market didn't bode well for lenders, which depend on the interest-rate differential between what they pay for deposits and what they make on loans.

The yield on the benchmark 10-yr Treasury note, which spiked to a seven-year high last week, hovered between 3.12% and 3.26% before eventually settling Friday at 3.14% -- nine basis points below last Friday's close. Meanwhile, the yield on the more Fed-sensitive 2-yr Treasury note fell four basis points to 2.84%, leaving the 2-10 spread with a five bps point loss for the week.

President Trump blamed this week's selling on the Federal Reserve, which he says has "gone crazy" with its rate hikes. The Fed has raised rates three times this year with the most recent hike coming in September, and it appears to be on track to raise rates again at its December meeting. The CME FedWatch Tool places the chances of a December rate hike at 79.7%; that's down slightly from 80.0% last Friday.

The S&P 500 got into technical trouble this week, breaching its 50-day moving average on Wednesday and then its 200-day moving average on Thursday. The benchmark index tried to reclaim its 200-day moving average on Friday, but closed right at the key technical mark. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite breached their 200-day moving averages as well; the Dow eventually reclaimed the key technical level, but the Nasdaq did not.

Also of note, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), often referred to as the "investor fear gauge," touched its highest level since late March (28.64) before pulling back a bit on Friday. Still, the VIX finished the week roughly 40% higher.

In other news, Hurricane Michael made landfall in the Florida Panhandle on Thursday as a Category 4 storm. The storm has devastated the region, causing billions of dollars in damages and killing at least 13 people. Many oil producers in the Gulf of Mexico halted operations in anticipation of the storm, but WTI crude fell this week nonetheless, dropping 3.9% to $71.41/bbl, and the S&P 500's energy sector lost 5.4%.

Looking ahead, earnings season will ramp up next week with Bank of America (BAC), Charles Schwab (SCHW), UnitedHealth (UNH), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Morgan Stanley (MS), Goldman Sachs (GS), IBM (IBM), Netflix (NFLX), Travelers (TRV), American Express (AXP), PayPal (PYPL), Procter & Gamble (PG), and a host of others scheduled to report their quarterly results.

In addition, investors will receive September Retail Sales, Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization, Housing Starts and Building Permits, Existing Home Sales, and the minutes from the September FOMC meeting.

Market Recap - Stocks Fall as Treasury Yields Surge

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The S&P 500 fell 1.0% this week, weighed down by a surge in bond yields, which rose to multi-year highs in front of Friday's release of the Employment Situation report for September. The tech-heavy Nasdaq and the small-cap Russell 2000 underperformed, losing 3.2% and 3.7%, respectively, but the blue-chip Dow finished flat.

Stocks began the week on a positive note, boosted by Canada joining Mexico and the United States in a trade agreement. On Sunday night, Canada agreed to allow greater dairy market access to the U.S., while also capping its automobile exports to the States. The deal, also known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) replaces the 24-year-old NAFTA deal between the countries. However, Congress still has to approve the deal, which likely won't be easy.

Investors awoke to continued Italian drama on Tuesday, when Italy's anti-establishment government defended its plan to increase the country's budget-deficit target despite pushback from the EU. In addition, Claudio Borghi, who leads the economic policy of the ruling Lega party, claimed that most of Italy's problems could be solved if the country had its own currency -- although that idea was dismissed by Italy Deputy Prime Minister Di Maio.

However, on Wednesday, Italy's government decided to cede to some of the EU's budget demands. Italy's budget-deficit target will be reduced from 2.4% of GDP in 2019 to 2.2% in 2020 and then to 2.0% in 2021.

That news helped push bond yields higher overnight. Yields then extended those gains significantly after the September ADP Employment Change report -- a prelude to Friday's nonfarm payrolls reading -- showed an estimated 230K positions were added to private sector payrolls -- well above the Briefing.com consensus estimate of 184K. The ISM Services Index for September also came in better-than-expected on Wednesday, hitting a record high of 61.6% (Briefing.com consensus 58.2%), clearly indicating that business activity in the service-providing sector of the economy is strong.

Yields continued to advance on Thursday and then again on Friday following the release of the Employment Situation report for September. The report showed a smaller-than-expected increase in nonfarm payrolls (134K actual vs 184K Briefing.com consensus), but the August increase underwent a notable upward revision (to 270K from 201K). As for the rest of the report, average hourly earnings increased 0.3% (Briefing.com consensus +0.3%), the average workweek was reported at 34.5 (Briefing.com consensus 34.5), and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.7% from 3.9%.

The key takeaway from the September jobs report is that the labor market is solid and still simmering with the prospect of pent-up wage pressures being unleashed at any point as employers encounter difficulty in finding qualified workers.

Looking at this week's S&P sector standings, most groups finished in negative territory. The consumer discretionary sector led the retreat with a loss of 4.2%, and information technology (-2.0%) and communication services (-2.0%) also showed relative weakness. On a positive note, the influential financial sector advanced 1.7%, benefiting from rising yields and, more specifically, a steepening of the yield curve. The benchmark 10-yr yield jumped 16 basis points in total, closing Friday at 3.23% -- which marks its highest level since 2011 -- while the 2-yr yield jumped five basis points to 2.88%.

In corporate news, General Electric (GE) replaced CEO John Flannery with former Danaher CEO Larry Culp; Tesla's (TSLA) CEO, Elon Musk, agreed to settle charges with the SEC, in which Mr. Musk and Tesla are to pay $20 million each, and Mr. Musk is to step down as chairman for three years; Amazon (AMZN) announced that it will be raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all U.S. employees, pressuring other retailers to do the same; and General Motors (GM) announced that it will be partnering with Honda Motor (HMC) to build autonomous vehicles.

Market Recap - Stocks Fall as Treasury Yields Surge

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The S&P 500 fell 1.0% this week, weighed down by a surge in bond yields, which rose to multi-year highs in front of Friday's release of the Employment Situation report for September. The tech-heavy Nasdaq and the small-cap Russell 2000 underperformed, losing 3.2% and 3.7%, respectively, but the blue-chip Dow finished flat.

Stocks began the week on a positive note, boosted by Canada joining Mexico and the United States in a trade agreement. On Sunday night, Canada agreed to allow greater dairy market access to the U.S., while also capping its automobile exports to the States. The deal, also known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) replaces the 24-year-old NAFTA deal between the countries. However, Congress still has to approve the deal, which likely won't be easy.

Investors awoke to continued Italian drama on Tuesday, when Italy's anti-establishment government defended its plan to increase the country's budget-deficit target despite pushback from the EU. In addition, Claudio Borghi, who leads the economic policy of the ruling Lega party, claimed that most of Italy's problems could be solved if the country had its own currency -- although that idea was dismissed by Italy Deputy Prime Minister Di Maio.

However, on Wednesday, Italy's government decided to cede to some of the EU's budget demands. Italy's budget-deficit target will be reduced from 2.4% of GDP in 2019 to 2.2% in 2020 and then to 2.0% in 2021.

That news helped push bond yields higher overnight. Yields then extended those gains significantly after the September ADP Employment Change report -- a prelude to Friday's nonfarm payrolls reading -- showed an estimated 230K positions were added to private sector payrolls -- well above the Briefing.com consensus estimate of 184K. The ISM Services Index for September also came in better-than-expected on Wednesday, hitting a record high of 61.6% (Briefing.com consensus 58.2%), clearly indicating that business activity in the service-providing sector of the economy is strong.

Yields continued to advance on Thursday and then again on Friday following the release of the Employment Situation report for September. The report showed a smaller-than-expected increase in nonfarm payrolls (134K actual vs 184K Briefing.com consensus), but the August increase underwent a notable upward revision (to 270K from 201K). As for the rest of the report, average hourly earnings increased 0.3% (Briefing.com consensus +0.3%), the average workweek was reported at 34.5 (Briefing.com consensus 34.5), and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.7% from 3.9%.

The key takeaway from the September jobs report is that the labor market is solid and still simmering with the prospect of pent-up wage pressures being unleashed at any point as employers encounter difficulty in finding qualified workers.

Looking at this week's S&P sector standings, most groups finished in negative territory. The consumer discretionary sector led the retreat with a loss of 4.2%, and information technology (-2.0%) and communication services (-2.0%) also showed relative weakness. On a positive note, the influential financial sector advanced 1.7%, benefiting from rising yields and, more specifically, a steepening of the yield curve. The benchmark 10-yr yield jumped 16 basis points in total, closing Friday at 3.23% -- which marks its highest level since 2011 -- while the 2-yr yield jumped five basis points to 2.88%.

In corporate news, General Electric (GE) replaced CEO John Flannery with former Danaher CEO Larry Culp; Tesla's (TSLA) CEO, Elon Musk, agreed to settle charges with the SEC, in which Mr. Musk and Tesla are to pay $20 million each, and Mr. Musk is to step down as chairman for three years; Amazon (AMZN) announced that it will be raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all U.S. employees, pressuring other retailers to do the same; and General Motors (GM) announced that it will be partnering with Honda Motor (HMC) to build autonomous vehicles.

Market Recap - Raising Rates and Playing Politics

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The S&P 500 pulled away from record highs this week, losing 0.5% in total, as investors digested a flurry of political headlines and the latest policy statement from the Federal Reserve, which included another rate hike -- the third one this year. The Dow also fell, losing 1.1%, but the tech-heavy Nasdaq outperformed, rallying 0.7%.

The week began with the U.S. implementing tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, which triggered Beijing to impose retaliatory tariffs on $60 billion worth of American products. Chinese officials also canceled mid-level trade talks that had been scheduled for later in the week, dashing hopes for a near-term resolution.

OPEC was also in focus on Monday after it and several non-OPEC nations ended a weekend meeting without an agreement to increase output in order to counter falling supply from Iran due to U.S. sanctions. President Trump criticized OPEC in front of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, saying the oil cartel is "ripping off the rest of the world" by colluding to limit supply and prop up prices.

In the same address, the U.S. president also criticized Iran, which is currently the target of U.S. economic sanctions, calling its government a "corrupt dictatorship" and saying its leaders "sow chaos, death, and destruction." President Trump also spoke regarding North Korea, ISIS, and Syria, and reiterated his administration's hard stance on fair trade.

The Federal Reserve increased short-term interest rates on Wednesday, as expected, raising the fed funds target range by 25 basis points to 2.00-2.25%. In its policy statement, the Fed removed the word 'accommodative', which led some to believe that officials could be moving towards slowing monetary tightening. However, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said during his post-decision press conference that the language change didn't signal a change in the Fed's path for rate hikes.

As for rate-hike projections, the Fed still appears to be on track to raise rates another 25 basis points in December, with the CME FedWatch Tool putting the chances at 75.8%. Beyond 2018, the Fed's dot plot showed expectations for three rate hikes in 2019 (unchanged from June) and one in 2020 (also unchanged from June).

On Capitol Hill, political drama unfolded on Thursday as Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Ford, who has accused Mr. Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her back in high school, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Committee advanced Mr. Kavanaugh's nomination on Friday, but a final Senate vote will be delayed for a one-week FBI investigation.

Overseas, two populist parties governing Italy widened the country's budget-deficit target for next year to 2.4% of GDP on Friday, likely putting the country at odds with the European Union. The major European stock indices sold off in reaction to the news, with Italy's MIB leading the retreat.

In U.S. corporate news, Comcast (CMCSA) paid $40 billion to win a bid for European broadcaster Sky, ending a two-year battle with 21st Century Fox (FOXA); Nike (NKE) reported above-consensus earnings for its fiscal first quarter; and Facebook (FB) fell on Friday after disclosing a "security issue" impacting 50 million users.

However, perhaps the week's biggest corporate story revolved around Tesla's (TSLA) CEO, Elon Musk, who was sued by the SEC on Thursday evening over his tweet about taking the electric automaker private. Mr. Musk and the SEC were reportedly close to reaching a no-guilt settlement that would have barred him from being chairman for two years, but Mr. Musk backed out at the last minute.

As for the sector standings, they were pretty mixed between red and green. The heavily-weighted financials sector was the second-worst performer, losing 4.1% in total, with materials (-4.5%) being the only group with a more substantial loss. Conversely, the newly-added communications services sector was the top performer with a weekly gain of 1.1%.

Market Recap - Dow Shrugs Off Tariffs, Returns to Record Territory

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Wall Street rallied this week with investors shrugging off another tranche of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods. The S&P 500 and the Dow touched new records ‐‐ the first time that's happened for the Dow since January 26 ‐‐ and finished the week with respective gains of 0.9% and 2.3%. The Nasdaq lagged though, slipping 0.3%.

President Trump announced on Monday evening that the U.S. will be slapping tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods starting on September 24. The tariff rate will start at 10%, but will increase to 25% on January 1. The president also said he will impose additional tariffs on $267 billion worth of Chinese goods if Beijing retaliates ‐‐ which it vowed to do with 5‐10% tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods.

Stocks unexpectedly took off on Tuesday following the tariff announcement, with some analysts pointing to the fact that the initial 10% tariff rate by the U.S. was not as harsh as expected ‐‐ thereby reflecting a willingness to negotiate. Others said the rally reflected the market's belief that the U.S.‐China trade dispute will eventually die down. Short‐covering activity likely helped as well.

The heavily‐weighted financial sector was among the top‐performing groups this week with a gain of 2.3%, benefiting from a steepening of the yield curve. The yield on the benchmark 10‐yr Treasury note climbed seven basis points to end Friday at 3.07%, while the Fed‐sensitive 2‐yr yield jumped two basis points to 2.81%.

Conversely, the top‐weighted information technology sector (‐0.1%) underperformed this week, getting surpassed by consumer discretionary (+0.4%) for the top spot in the 2018 sector standings. The two groups hold year‐to‐date gains of 18.5% and 18.7%, respectively. For comparison, the S&P 500 is up 9.6%.

In total, eight of the eleven S&P sectors finished in the green, with cyclical sectors showing relative strength. A new sector, communication services, will be born after Friday's close, and it will involve reclassifying several widely‐held technology, telecom, and media stocks into the new sector ‐‐ including Facebook (FB), Alphabet (GOOG), Verizon (VZ), Netflix (NFLX), and Walt Disney (DIS).

In individual stocks, cannabis names were in focus this week, with Tilray (TLRY) going on a wild ride after its CEO suggested that his business would be a "smart hedge" for major pharmaceutical companies. TLRY shares traded as high as $299.46/share ‐‐ 175% above last Friday's close ‐‐ before ending the week at$123.00/share (+13%).

On the oil front, WTI crude climbed 2.6% this week to $70.77/bbl even though President Trump criticized OPEC on Thursday morning, saying the "OPEC monopoly must get [oil] prices down now!" Reuters then reported on Friday that OPEC and non‐OPEC countries are discussing the possibility of raisingoutput by 500,000 barrels a day to counter falling supply from Iran due to U.S. sanctions.

Looking ahead, the Federal Reserve will release its latest policy directive on Wednesday. The market is all but certain that the central bank will hike rates ‐‐ with the CME FedWatch Tool placing the chances at 100% ‐‐ so investors will be more focused on the Fed's rate forecast, especially for 2019.

Market Recap - Wind in the Sails

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Wall Street returned to its winning ways this week, powering through trade-related headlines and Hurricane Florence, one of the strongest storms to hit the Carolinas in decades. The S&P 500 advanced 1.2%, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 1.4%, and the blue-chip Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.9%.

Hurricane Florence was largely the talk of the week, forcing residents near the Carolina coast to either pack their bags or hunker down. The storm weakened to a Category 1 from a Category 4 before it made landfall on Friday though, which helped the market keep a positive bias. WTI crude futures were once up nearly 4.0% on the week, but gave the majority of that back as the storm weakened.

Meanwhile, on the trade front, the White House confirmed reports that it has proposed a new round of trade talks with China -- a proposition that was welcomed by Beijing. However, President Trump muddied the waters a bit with a tweet on Thursday, saying the U.S. isn't under pressure to make a deal with China; rather, China is under pressure to make a deal with the United States.

China's major stock index, the Shanghai Composite, fell 0.8% this week, touching its lowest level since January 2016.

Separately, President Trump is reportedly considering a second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un ahead of the November midterm elections. The two leaders held a historic summit in June, but relations have cooled since, due to North Korea's unsatisfactory progress towards denuclearization.

In U.S. corporate news, Apple (AAPL) unveiled a trio of new iPhones -- iPhone Xs ($999), iPhone Xs Max ($1099), and iPhone Xr ($749) -- at its annual product event on Wednesday, extending last year's high-end iPhone X line, which was created in celebration of the iPhone's 10th anniversary. Apple shares added 1.2% on the week.

The top-weighted technology sector was among the top-performing groups this week, rebounding from last week's disappointing performance, with a gain of 1.8%. In total, ten of eleven groups finished in positive territory. Cyclical sectors generally outperformed, although the heavily-weighted financial space did not, finishing lower by 0.4%.

On the data front, investors received some influential inflation data this week, including the core Producer Price Index for August and the core Consumer Price Index for August. The core PPI declined 0.1%, while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 0.2%, and the core CPI showed a less-than-expected increase of 0.1% (Briefing.com consensus +0.2%).

Those readings helped to ease fears that the Fed might have to be more aggressive in raising rates in order to keep the economy from overheating.

In monetary policy, a trio of central banks released their latest policy decisions this week, including the European Central Bank, the Bank of England, and the Central Bank of Turkey. Both the ECB and the Bank of England kept interest rates unchanged, as expected, but Turkey's central bank increased its benchmark rate to 24.00% from 17.75%, attempting to stabilize the beleaguered Turkish lira.

The Fed is expected to raise rates by 25 basis points at its September 25-26 policy meeting, with the market placing the chances of a rate hike at 100%.

Market Recap - Three-Week Rally Comes to an End as Tech Shares Slide

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Three-Week Rally Comes to an End as Tech Shares Slide

Investors returned from the extended Labor Day weekend in a selling mood, pulling stocks away from last week's record highs. The S&P 500 ended the week with a loss of 1.0%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 2.6%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average showed relative strength, but still finished lower by 0.2%.

The week kicked off with Amazon (AMZN) becoming the second U.S. company, after Apple (AAPL), to reach a market cap of $1 trillion and with Nike (NKE) unveiling a controversial ad for the 30th anniversary of its "Just Do It" campaign that features Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback credited with starting the national anthem protests. Amazon soon fell back after touching the $1 trillion milestone on Tuesday though, ending the week with a market cap of $952 billion.

On the Gulf Coast, residents braced for Tropical Storm Gordon to make landfall, which it did on Tuesday evening. Oil prices rallied in anticipation of the storm disrupting crude production, but gave back all of those gains after the storm turned out to be less damaging than feared. Oil prices then fell further on Thursday when the EIA's weekly inventory report showed a 4.3 million barrel drop in crude stockpiles, but a 1.8 million barrel jump in inventories of gasoline. In total, WTI crude futures lost 2.9% this week, settling Friday at $67.76/bbl, and the oil-sensitive energy sector lost 2.3%.

The top-weighted information technology sector also underperformed this week, dropping 2.9%. Within the group, social media names were in focus after Facebook's (FB) COO, Sheryl Sandberg, and Twitter's (TWTR) CEO, Jack Dorsey, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday morning, defending their efforts to prevent election meddling. Mr. Dorsey also appeared before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in the afternoon, rebuking allegations that Twitter promotes certain political ideologies. The hearings didn't produce any new information of note, but that didn't prevent Facebook and Twitter shares from tumbling 2.3% and 6.1% on Wednesday, respectively.

On the trade front, U.S.-China trade tensions resurfaced at the tail end of the week, as many thought the White House would impose tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods on Thursday at midnight following the end of a public comment period. That didn't happen, but President Trump did raise the stakes on Friday, saying that he's got another tranche of tariffs on $267 billion of Chinese goods "ready to go" if Beijing retaliates to the $200 billion tranche.

On a related note, trade talks between the U.S. and Canada resumed this week after the two sides failed to reach an agreement last Friday, but investors were skeptical that a deal would get done after President Trump tweeted on Saturday that there's "no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal." As of Friday's closing bell, officials still had not reached an agreement.

In economic data, the Employment Situation report for August crossed the wires on Friday morning, causing some knee-jerk selling due to a higher-than-expected increase in average hourly earnings (+0.4% actual vs +0.2% Briefing.com consensus), which ignited some fears that inflation might be picking up. However, the realization that the economy is still strong, evidenced by a larger-than-expected increase in nonfarm payrolls (+201K actual vs +187K Briefing.com consensus) and an unemployment rate of 3.9%, helped keep losses in check.

As for the Fed, Friday's jobs report virtually locked in a September rate hike and increased the chances of a December rate hike to 79.8% from 72.8% on Thursday.

Market Recap - Back to Record Territory

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The S&P 500 advanced 0.6% this week, closing Friday at a new record high for the first time since January 26. Political uncertainty, trade ambiguity, and strengthened expectations for two more rate hikes this year all failed to dissuade motivated buyers, who pushed stocks higher in three of the week's five sessions.

As for the other major averages, the Nasdaq and the Russell 2000 also notched new records, adding 1.7% and 1.9%, respectively, while the Dow climbed 0.5%.

The week started on a mildly positive note, with stocks ticking higher on Monday and Tuesday, but investors were cautious over the next two sessions, largely due to the legal woes of President Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

Mr. Manafort was convicted of tax and bank fraud on Tuesday afternoon, while Mr. Cohen pleaded guilty to a range of charges, including tax fraud and excessive campaign contributions, and implicated the president directly by saying that Mr. Trump directed him to pay two women hush money "for the principal purpose of influencing the election."

It's too early to say what these developments will mean for President Trump's political future, but it's worth noting that the president chose to say, in regards to the situation, that the market would crash "if I ever got impeached" and that "I don't know how you can impeach somebody who has done a great job."

Moving on to the trade front, two days of trade talks between the U.S. and China wrapped up on Thursday without any visible sign of progress. President Trump said beforehand that he wasn't expecting much to come out of the talks, which marked the first official negotiations since a breakdown nearly three months ago.

In monetary policy, President Trump reiterated his displeasure with the Fed on Monday, saying he was "not thrilled" with Fed Chair Jerome Powell for raising rates.

Two days later, the Fed released the minutes from the July/August FOMC meeting, which only strengthened the expectation that the U.S. central bank will hike rates at its September meeting, with officials saying in the minutes that it would likely "soon" be appropriate to raise rates.

Then, on Friday, Fed Chairman Powell gave a speech at the Kansas City Fed's annual economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, saying that gradual rate hikes remain appropriate. Mr. Powell also expressed confidence in the economy and said he doesn't see any signs of inflation getting out of hand.

Seven of eleven sectors advanced this week, with cyclical groups showing relative strength. The energy sector (+2.6%) was the top performer -- rebounding from last week's 3.6% tumble -- helped by an increase in crude prices; West Texas Intermediate crude futures climbed 4.2% this week to $68.66 per barrel.

Meanwhile, the consumer discretionary sector (+2.0%) also outperformed amid a steady flow of retail earnings. TJX (TJX) jumped 4.7% on Tuesday after reporting better-than-expected results, while Lowe's (LOW) and Target (TGT) added 5.8% and 3.2%, respectively, on Wednesday after also beating estimates.

On the downside, the four declining sectors were consumer staples (-1.8%), utilities (-1.4%), telecom services (-0.7%), and real estate (-1.1%).

Hodgepodge of Headlines Helps Fuel Rebound

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The S&P 500 advanced 0.6% this week -- recouping last week’s modest decline -- amid a host of retail earnings, more volatility in the Turkish lira, and another (minor) chapter in the U.S.-China trade war saga. The blue-chip Dow outperformed the S&P 500, rallying 1.4%, but the tech-heavy Nasdaq lagged, losing 0.3%.

Retailers stepped up to the earnings plate this week, with Walmart (WMT), Home Depot (HD), Macy’s (M), Nordstrom (JWN), Advance Auto (AAP), and J.C. Penney (JCP) all reporting their quarterly results. The market’s reaction to the reports was mixed.In the session immediately following their respective earnings releases, Walmart spiked 9.3%, Home Depot lost
0.5%, Macy’s plunged 16.0%, Nordstrom spiked 13.2%, Advance Auto climbed 7.8%, and J.C. Penney plunged 27.0%. On a related note, the July Retail Sales report came in better-than-expected, showing a month-over-month increase of 0.5% (Briefing.com consensus +0.1%).

Non-retail names reporting earnings this week included Cisco Systems (CSCO), NVIDIA (NVDA), and Deere (DE). Cisco Systems and Deere rallied in the session immediately following their releases, adding 3.0% and2.4%, respectively, but market-darling NVIDIA tumbled, losing 4.6%, after disappointing guidance overshadowed up beat results.

In other corporate news, Tesla’s (TSLA) chief executive, Elon Musk, attempted to clarify last week’s tweet about taking Tesla private, saying that his claim that funding has been secured is based on repeated conversations with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. Mr. Musk also
did a high-profile interview with The New York Times, in which he discussed his personal struggles, calling this past year “the most difficult and painful” of his career.
Tesla shares ended the week lower by 14.1%.

In currencies, the Turkish lira followed up last Friday’s 16% plunge with another slide on Monday, touching a new all-time low against the U.S. dollar, but then rebounded for the next three sessions. That streak ended with another tumble on Friday, but the currency still finished with a weekly gain of 6.1%. On the trade front, reports that the U.S. and China will resume trade talks by the end of the month helped equities rally on Thursday. The talks will mark the first official negotiations since a breakdown two months ago, but it’s worth noting that the talks are expected to be between low-level officials. In addition, The Wall Street Journal reported late on Friday that Chinese and U.S. negotiators are planning talks to try to end their trade disagreement ahead of multilateral meetings between President Trump and President Xi in November.

Elsewhere, West Texas Intermediate crude futures tumbled 2.5% to $65.94 per barrel this week, touching a fresh two-month low on Wednesday after the Energy Information Administration’s weekly inventory report showed an unexpected build of 6.8 million barrels. The drop in oil prices weighed on the energy group, which finished at the bottom of the sector standings with a loss of 3.6%.


Most S&P 500 sectors finished the week in positive territory, with less-risky, countercyclical groups -- including consumer staples (+3.2%), utilities (+2.5%), and telecom services (+3.7%) -- leading the charge. The top-weighted technology sector underperformed, shedding 0.2%, but remains 2018’s top-performing group with a year-to-date gain of 15.6%.

Market Recap - Rattled by the Lira

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The S&P 500 started the week on a positive note, extending last week's winning streak and coming within 0.5% of its January 26 record high. However, the index struggled in the back half of the week, especially on Friday amid a sharp drop in the Turkish lira, eventually settling with a weekly loss of 0.3% -- its first weekly loss since late June.

As for the other major averages, their performances were mixed, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq climbing 0.4% and the blue-chip Dow dropping 0.6%.

Eight of eleven S&P sectors declined this week, with industrials (-1.0%), materials (-0.9%), consumer staples (-1.9%), and real estate (-1.9%) leading the retreat. On the flip side, consumer discretionary (+0.8%), information technology (+0.3%), and telecom services (+0.7%) were the three advancing groups.

In corporate news, Tesla (TSLA) rallied on Tuesday after CEO Elon Musk tweeted that he's considering taking the company private for $420/share and has already secured funding to do so. However, shares gave back nearly all of those gains following headlines that the SEC is investigating whether Mr. Musk's funding claim is truthful.

Meanwhile, on the earnings front, Dow component Walt Disney (DIS) slid 2.2% on Wednesday after missing quarterly earnings estimates, and Snap (SNAP) tumbled 6.8% during the same session after its better-than-expected results were overshadowed by a decline in daily active users (DAUs). This week's wave of Q2 reports was the last big wave of the Q2 earnings season.

The week was light in terms of economic data, but investors did receive some influential readings on inflation. The July Consumer Price Index and the July core Consumer Price Index, which excludes the volatile categories of food and energy, came in as expected, both showing month-over-month increases of 0.2%. On a year-over-year basis, total CPI is up 2.9% and core CPI is up 2.4%.

In short, the report showed that consumer inflation trends are running above the Fed's longer-run target, providing further support for additional rate hikes this year.

The Turkish lira took center stage on Friday, dropping more than 15% against the U.S. dollar. That drop, which comes after the U.S. and Turkey failed to reach an agreement regarding the release of American pastor Andrew Brunson, created concerns over the financial health of banks with heavy exposure to economically-struggling Turkey.

Out of desperation to stabilize the currency, Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, asked citizens to convert their holdings of gold and foreign currencies, especially the U.S. dollar, into lira. U.S. President Donald Trump responded by increasing economic pressure, doubling tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Turkey.