Stocks Drift Sideways After Weak Economic Reports: Markets Wrap
Stocks struggled for direction, with traders sifting through weak economic data and awaiting more clarity on the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy path from the Jackson Hole central bankers’ symposium later this week.
Data Tuesday showed sales of new US homes fell for the sixth time this year to the slowest pace since early 2016, while business activity contracted for a second straight month, reflecting softer demand at both manufacturers and service providers.
Traders are bracing for hawkish talk at the Jackson Hole event after recent comments from Fed officials convinced many investors the central bank will continue to tighten aggressively, even into a slowing economy.
“For the moment, global sentiment is both skittish and volatile,” said Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor. “There is little cause for optimism on the immediate horizon, with any glimmers of economic hope yet to take hold on a sustainable basis.”
Quantitative tightening by the US central bank is set to kick into gear next month, presenting another potential headwind for equities.
“The near-term outlook for equity markets remains challenging,” said Mathieu Racheter, head of equity strategy at Julius Baer. “The impact of quantitative tightening on financial markets have yet to be felt, while the earnings downgrade cycle has just started.”
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What to watch this week:
- US durable goods, MBA mortgage applications, pending home sales, Wednesday
- US GDP, initial jobless claims, Thursday
- Kansas City Fed hosts its annual economic policy symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Thursday
- ECB’s July minutes, Thursday
- Fed Chair Powell speaks at Jackson Hole, Friday
- US personal income, PCE deflator, University of Michigan consumer sentiment, Friday
Some of the main moves in markets:
- The S&P 500 was little changed as of 11:13 a.m. New York time
- The Nasdaq 100 was little changed
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4%
- The Stoxx Europe 600 fell 0.4%
- The MSCI World index was little changed
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.6%
- The euro rose 0.6% to $0.9999
- The British pound rose 0.8% to $1.1864
- The Japanese yen rose 1.1% to 136.03 per dollar
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined three basis points to 2.98%
- Germany’s 10-year yield advanced one basis point to 1.32%
- Britain’s 10-year yield advanced four basis points to 2.56%
- West Texas Intermediate crude rose 4.1% to $94.02 a barrel
- Gold futures rose 1% to $1,765.60 an ounce