In this week’s recap: stocks rise, and consumer prices jump; COVID-19 cases slow; Congressional talks stall.
Weekly Economic Update
Presented by Paul Moffat, MBA, AIF®, August 17, 2020
THE WEEK ON WALL STREET
Stock prices drifted higher in an otherwise quiet news week, as a slowdown in new COVID-19 cases outweighed a Congressional impasse on a new fiscal spending measure.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.81%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 rose by 0.64%. The Nasdaq Composite Index inched 0.08% higher for the week. The MSCI EAFE Index, which tracks developed stock markets overseas, advanced 3.11%.1,2,3
S&P 500 Nears All-Time High
Stocks prices were supported by a falling rate of COVID-19 cases nationwide and optimism that – despite a lack of progress on a fiscal aid bill – Congress would eventually come to a spending agreement.4
The industrial and financial sectors saw solid gains, while technology stocks, after slipping earlier in the week, found some footing as the week came to a close.
The S&P 500 Index flirted all week with setting a new record high. At one point on Thursday, it traded above its February 2020 record close before closing slightly lower. Stocks treaded water into Friday, as Congress recessed for the summer.5
Consumer Prices Jump
On Wednesday, the Labor Department said that the Consumer Price Index rose 0.6% in July, matching the 0.6% increase in June. The increase was double the consensus estimate of 0.3%. The general view is that the acceleration in consumer prices is more indicative of a healing economy than the beginning of a cycle of higher inflation.6,7
The Fed does not appear concerned about these recent monthly price jumps. It remains more worried about disinflation. However, if inflation continues to pick up, the Fed may be forced to reconsider its COVID-19 monetary policy.8
T I P O F T H E W E E K
Is your business structured to limit your liability? Your financial professional may be able to provide some insights about what business structures to consider.
THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Tuesday: Housing Starts.
Wednesday: Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) Minutes.
Thursday: Jobless Claims. Index of Leading Economic Indicators.
Friday: Existing Home Sales.
Source: Econoday, August 14, 2020
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision.
THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS
Monday: JD.com (JD).
Tuesday: Walmart (WMT), The Home Depot (HD), Kohls (KSS).
Wednesday: Nvidia (NVDA), Target (TGT), Lowe’s (LOW).
Thursday: Alibaba Group (BABA).
Friday: John Deere (DE).
Source: Zacks, August 14, 2020
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.
Q U O T E O F T H E W E E K
“Wise men make more opportunities than they find.”
SIR FRANCIS BACON
T H E W E E K L Y R I D D L E
What number should be next in this series: 9, 16, 25, 36?
LAST WEEK’S RIDDLE: Nancy was born in summer, yet she was born in January. How is this possible?
ANSWER: She was born in the southern hemisphere.
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Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost.
The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions, may not materialize, and are subject to revision without notice.
The market indexes discussed are unmanaged, and generally, considered representative of their respective markets. Index performance is not indicative of the past performance of a particular investment. Indexes do not incur management fees, costs, and expenses. Individuals cannot directly invest in unmanaged indexes. Past performance does not guarantee future results.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is an unmanaged index that is generally considered representative of large-capitalization companies on the U.S. stock market. Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the Nasdaq stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of technology and growth companies. The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) and serves as a benchmark of the performance of major international equity markets, as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia. The S&P 500 Composite Index is an unmanaged group of securities that are considered to be representative of the stock market in general.
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1. The Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2020
2. The Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2020
3. The Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2020
4. CNBC, August 12, 2020
5. CNBC, August 13, 2020
6. The Wall Street Journal, August 12, 2020
7. The Wall Street Journal, August 12, 2020
8. CNBC, August 12, 2020
The Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2020
The Wall Street Journal, August 14, 2020
treasury.gov, August 14, 2020