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Financial Commentary

Insight & Market Analysis.

  • Stocks Lose Ground Amid Falling Commodity Prices

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    Overview NASDAQ Composite Sets New All-Time High

    July 27, 2015 — U.S. stocks fell on Friday, with the benchmark S&P 500 capping a loss of over 2% on the week, its worst week since March, while the NASDAQ Composite gave back gains after posting a new record high on Monday at 5,219. Investors grew uneasy over mixed-to-disappointing earnings and falling commodity prices, primarily caused by slowing demand in China. The S&P 500 finished the week 2.4% below its May 21st all-time high of 2,131, and has gone without setting a new high for the longest time since 2013, apparently stuck in a pattern of nearing a record without topping it for two months. The S&P 500 had fallen as much as 4% from its high due to the Greek credit crisis and China’s stock market correction. China’s Shanghai Composite rose 2.87% last week, even as a measure of the nation’s manufacturing activity fell to a 15-month low.

    In domestic economic data last week, existing home sales were very strong in June, rising to an annualized rate of 5.49 million, the highest level since February 2007. Weekly jobless claims fell by 26,000 to a 42-month low of 255,000. On Friday, the Commerce Department said new home sales fell 6.8% in June to 482,000, the weakest annualized sales pace since November, while a preliminary PMI reading of U.S. manufacturing activity rose in June.

    For the week, the Dow Industrials fell 2.86%, the S&P 500 lost 2.19% and the NASDAQ Composite declined 2.32%. All ten major sector groups ended negative for the week, with Materials (-5.46%), Energy (-3.99%) and Industrials (-3.79%) falling the most. Consumer Discretionary (-0.45%) and Consumer Staples (-0.75%) fell the least. Ahead of this week’s Federal Reserve FOMC policy meeting, Treasury prices rallied during the week, pulling the yield on 10-year Treasury notes lower by 8.5 basis points to finish at 2.263%.

     

     

     

  • Overview NASDAQ Composite Sets New All-Time High

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    Overview NASDAQ Composite Sets New All-Time High

    July 20, 2015 — Most stocks advanced Friday to cap a second week of gains with the NASDAQ Composite powering higher to finish at a new, all-time high. The S&P 500 posted its strongest weekly gain since March, the Dow Industrials finished the week back above 18,000 and the NASDAQ 100 Index surged over 5.5% to a 15-year high. On a backdrop of relief stemming from a fresh bailout agreement for Greece, investors turned their focus toward earnings. Sentiment also improved after China reported second quarter GDP growth of 7%, topping estimates for 6.8%. The STOXX Europe 600 Index gained 4.3% for its best week since January.

    In weekly economic highlights, U.S. retail sales declined 0.3% in June, led by a 1.1% pullback in auto sales, while electronic & appliance stores sales climbed 1%. Wholesale prices rose 0.4% last month, but remain 0.7% lower from this time last year. Meanwhile, the consumer price index also showed some traction in June, rising 0.3% and is up 0.1% year-over-year. On Friday, the University of Michigan’s preliminary reading for July consumer sentiment fell to 93.3 from a final June level of 96.1. Lastly, new home construction starts climbed last month to the second-highest level since November 2007.

    For the week, including dividends, the Dow Industrials returned 1.86%, the S&P 500 advanced 2.42% and the NASDAQ Composite surged 4.25%. Eight of the ten major sector groups gained on the week, led by Technology (+5.26%), Financials (+3.02%) and Healthcare (+2.28%). Utilities (+0.85%) rose the least last week, while Energy (-1.18%) and Materials (-0.13%) lagged. Treasury prices edged higher during the week, dampening the yield on 10-year Treasury notes lower by five basis points to finish at 2.348%.