INFLATION PRESSURE WEAKENS
The Consumer Price Index was unchanged in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That left its yearly advance at only 1.6%, nearly half a point below the Federal Reserve’s target (the core CPI was up 1.7%). After the announcement, some economists and market strategists wondered whether the Fed would rethink its plans for a third interest rate hike in 2017. The Producer Price Index rose 0.1% in June, leaving its yearly increase at 2.0%.
RETAIL SALES, CONSUMER SENTIMENT INDEX DECLINE
For the second month in a row, households scaled back their retail purchases – retail sales were down 0.2% in June following a 0.1% May decline. Core sales fell 0.2% after a May retreat of 0.3%. The University of Michigan’s preliminary July consumer sentiment index lost 2.0 points off its final June mark to a reading of 93.1.
A projection of rising demand and news of a pipeline shutdown in Nigeria sent the price of light sweet crude 5.2% higher in a week. WTI crude settled at $46.54 on the NYMEX Friday, its best close since July 3.
DOW ENTERS RECORD TERRITORY AGAIN
Friday, the Dow 30 notched its third straight record close: 21,637.74. At the same time, the S&P 500 also settled at a new record of 2,459.27. The Nasdaq Composite finished Friday’s market day at 6,312.47, a half-percent away from its all-time peak. For the week, the Dow rose 1.04%; the S&P, 1.41%; the Nasdaq, 2.59%.
THIS WEEK: Monday’s earnings parade includes announcements from BlackRock, Charles Schwab, J.B. Hunt, and Netflix. On Tuesday, Wall Street examines earnings from Bank of America, CSX, Comerica, Goldman Sachs, Harley-Davidson, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, TD Ameritrade, and UnitedHealth Group. Wednesday sees data on June housing starts and building permits, plus earnings from American Express, Fidelity National Financial, Morgan Stanley, Northern Trust, Qualcomm, T-Mobile, U.S. Bancorp, United Rentals, and W.W. Grainger. A new weekly initial claims report arrives Thursday, plus earnings news from Abbott Labs, Alliance Data Systems, American Airlines Group, BB&T, BoNY Mellon, Capital One, Cintas, eBay, E*TRADE, GATX, KeyCorp, Microsoft, NCR, Nucor, Philip Morris, Sherwin-Williams, Skechers, Snap-On, Travelers Companies, Union Pacific, Visa, and Whirlpool. On Friday, Colgate-Palmolive, Fifth Third Bancorp, General Electric, Honeywell International, Regions Financial, Schlumberger, and SunTrust Banks present earnings.