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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Markets Trim Monday Gains

Charles Schwab: On the Market
Posted: 6/20/2017 4:15 PM ET

Markets Trim Monday Gains

U.S. equities erased some of the gains seen yesterday, with tech issues applying pressure, along with energy stocks following a sharp decline in crude oil prices on oversupply concerns amid a flood of output coming from Libya and Nigeria. Meanwhile, an uncertain political landscape also contributed to the uncertainty. Treasuries were higher with the economic calendar again empty, while gold was little changed and the U.S. dollar gained ground.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) fell 62 points (0.3%) to 21,467, the S&P 500 Index declined 16 points (0.7%) to 2,437, and the Nasdaq Composite decreased 51 points (0.8%) to 6,188. In moderately-heavy volume, 811 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 2.5 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. WTI crude oil declined $0.92 to $43.51 per barrel and wholesale gasoline lost $0.03 to $1.42 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price decreased $1.37 to $1,242.47 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—was 0.2% higher at 97.76.

Lennar Corp. (LEN $54) posted a Q2 profit of $0.91 per share, well above the FactSet consensus estimate of $0.79, on a 19% year-over-year (y/y) increase in revenues to $3.3 billion, also eclipsing the $2.8 billion forecast. Chief Executive Officer Stuart Miller said the strong results “were supported by an improved macroeconomic environment, renewed optimism, wage and job growth, and increased consumer confidence.” He added that despite recent housing reports the company is seeing the market revert more to normal than the slow and steady recovery pace of the last several years. Shares were nicely higher.

Biopharmaceutical company Parexel International Corp. (PRXL $87) confirmed that it will be acquired by private equity firm Pamplona Capital Management for $88.10 per share in cash, or an enterprise value of roughly $5 billion, including debt. The purchase price represents about a 5% premium to yesterday’s closing price and a near 28% premium since early May when speculation of a deal surfaced. Shares of PRXL were higher.

The Nasdaq pared yesterday’s rally, and its best day since November, which has lagged the Dow and S&P due to the recent pressure on technology issues. With the spotlight remaining on tech, Schwab's Director of Market and Sector Analysis Brad Sorensen, CFA, addresses the situation in his recent Schwab Sector Views: Technology—Too Far or Room to Run?. Brad informs us that the technology sector has been on a remarkable run. It was the best-performing sector over the past three- and 12-month periods. After a run like that, it makes sense that investors are asking if tech may have gone too far. Could a retrenchment be in store? Also, Schwab’s Chief Investment Strategist Liz Ann Sonders provides her insight into the sector in her latest article, The Space Between … Tech Today Doesn't Resemble Tech Circa 2000, where she believes the breathless reporting of a “tech wreck” in the financial media is a bit of a stretch in her opinion, as well as the parallels being drawn between tech today and tech circa 200. Find out why, and see both articles on the Markets & Economy page at, while you can also follow Schwab and Liz Ann on Twitter: @schwabresearch and @lizannsonders.

Economic calendar remains quiet, gets in motion tomorrow

Treasuries were higher, as the economic calendar was again void of any major releases today. The yield on the 2-year note was 1 basis point (bp) lower at 1.35%, the yield on the 10-year note was down 3 basis points (bps) at 2.16%, and the 30-year bond rate declined 5 bps to 2.74%.

Treasury yields have been in a trading range amid a host of domestic and European political uncertainty, mixed economic data, and last week’s highly-expected rate hike by the Fed and details of the process in beginning to shrink its balance sheet sometime this year. Schwab's Chief Fixed Income Strategist, Kathy Jones discusses the Fed's potential changes to its bloated balance sheet and the impact on the bond markets in her article, Will the Fed Reduce Its Balance Sheet? What Bond Investors Should Know on the Fixed Income page at Follow Kathy on Twitter: @kathyjones. Also, Schwab's Liz Ann Sonders addresses the recent mixed economic data in her article, Turn Down For What: Why is Job Growth Slowing?, on the Markets & Economy page at

The economic calendar is scant this week, and won’t get moving until tomorrow, where housing will take center stage with the release of existing home sales, with economists forecasting a slight downtick during May to an annual rate of 5.55 million units, as well as weekly MBA Mortgage Applications. More housing data will come later in the week via the new home sales report. Manufacturing and business activity will also likely be on tap, with data from Markit's preliminary Manufacturing and Services PMIs and the Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index. Other reports of note include weekly initial jobless claims and the Index of Leading Economic Indicators.

A couple of Federal Reserve officials spoke yesterday, with some hawkish comments coming from Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William Dudley, with a host of other speeches at various engagements slated for today and throughout the remainder of the week. As noted in the latest Schwab Market Perspective: Goldilocks…or the Three Bears?, we believe the market will likely largely look past the expected FOMC rate hike, and focus more on any information with regard to the Fed’s balance sheet. It is now expected that the Fed will begin the process of slowly reducing its bloated balance sheet by the end of this year, but that process (and commentary surrounding it) could be a source of elevated volatility in the months to come. Read more on the Markets & Economy page at, including our continued belief that the bull market has legs, but why investors should be aware that risks are elevated.

European equities lower on oil, politics and Brexit worries; Asia mixed

European equities finished lower, with pressure coming from energy stocks amid the tumble in crude oil prices, and as Brexit talks were in focus after negotiations officially began yesterday in Brussels. According to Reuters, chief negotiators from the European Union (EU) and the U.K. agreed that dialogue up through October should focus on expatriate citizens’ rights and the settling of financial accounts. The British pound added to its recent slide versus the U.S. dollar amid the uncertainty, as well as Bank of England Governor Mark Carney’s comments on his continued worries of the impact of Brexit on the U.K. economy, and after signaling that as a result he isn’t in any rush to begin adjusting interest rates. Adding to the mix, investors continue to struggle with the recent U.K. election that surprisingly resulted in a hung parliament and fostered uncertainty surrounding Brexit negotiations and whether they will yield hard or softer exit terms. Amid the political turmoil overseas, including upcoming elections in Italy and Germany later this year, see Schwab's Chief Global Investment Strategist Jeffrey Kleintop's, CFA, and Vice President of Trading and Derivatives, Randy Frederick's video, Political Risk: How Should Investors Respond?, on the Insights & Ideas page at, where you can also find our article, Brexit Begins: What's Next for the U.K?.

In economic news, Spain’s trade deficit widened more than expected for April, and producer prices in Germany matched expectations. The euro is also modestly lower versus the greenback and bond yields in the region are mixed.

Stocks in Asia finished mixed, as yesterday’s optimism over the MSCI’s decision on China cooled a bit. Investors are waiting to see if MSCI will include the Asian nation’s A-shares in its emerging markets indexes when it announces its decision later this week. This will be the fourth shot at MSCI inclusion for China after being passed over the prior three attempts. Whispers on the Street currently put the odds of inclusion at 50/50. Japanese equities rose, with the yen losing ground, and following a report that showed noted improvement in the nation's business sentiment, hitting its highest level in nearly a decade. Mainland Chinese stocks and those traded in Hong Kong fell on tempered hopes of MSCI’s upcoming decision, while investors also begin to look toward high-level talks between the U.S. and China that begin tomorrow, with U.S. officials not hiding its intent to continue to pressure China on help with the North Korea issue. Elsewhere, South Korean securities ticked lower and Indian listings were flat.

Australian markets fell on the heels of Moody’s downgrade of twelve of the nation’s lenders, including its four largest banks, and after the Reserve Bank of Australia released the minutes from its last monetary policy meeting which showed the central bank was concerned about household debt and wage growth, despite being positive about economic progress going forward. For a look at the global economic front, see Jeffrey Kleintop's video, What's the Current State of the Global Economy? on the Insights & Ideas page at Follow Jeff on Twitter” @jeffreykleintop.

Items set for release on tomorrow's international economic calendar include Japan's All-Industry Index, industrial orders from Spain, and public sector net borrowing from the U.K.

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