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Friday, September 15, 2017

Stocks Stretch Record Runs Despite Data

Charles Schwab: On the Market
Posted: 9/15/2017 4:15 PM ET

Stocks Stretch Record Runs Despite Data

U.S. stocks added to strong weekly gains after shrugging off softer-than-expected retail sales and industrial production reports and showing some resiliency in the face of a terror attack in London and another North Korean missile test. Quadruple witching likely added to the day's volatility and volume. Treasury yields modestly extended their weekly advance and the U.S. dollar pared its weekly gain as the euro and British pound extended recent gains. Crude oil was little changed and gold was lower.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) increased 65 points (0.3%) to 22,268, the S&P 500 Index gained 5 points (0.2%) to 2,500, and the Nasdaq Composite increased 19 points (0.3%) to 6,448. In heavy volume, 2.1 billion shares were traded on the NYSE and 2.7 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. WTI crude oil was flat at $49.89 per barrel and wholesale gasoline moved $0.03 higher to $1.66 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price declined $8.67 to $1,321.07 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—was 0.3% lower at 91.87. Markets were nicely higher for the week, as the DJIA rallied 2.2%, the S&P 500 Index jumped 1.6% and the Nasdaq Composite gained 1.4%.

Oracle Corp. (ORCL $49) reported fiscal Q1 earnings-per-share (EPS) of $0.52, or $0.62 ex-items, versus the $0.60 FactSet estimate, as revenues grew 7.0% year-over-year (y/y) to $9.2 billion, above the projected $9.0 billion. The company noted that the sustained "hyper-growth" of its cloud business continued to drive increased revenue and earnings. However, the company's Q2 guidance missed expectations. Shares fell solidly.

Retail sales miss to kick off heavy day of data

Advance retail sales (chart) for August declined 0.2% month-over-month (m/m), compared to the Bloomberg forecast of a 0.1% gain and compared to July's downwardly revised 0.3% gain. Last month's sales ex-autos grew by 0.2% m/m, versus expectations of a 0.5% gain, and following the negatively revised 0.4% increase seen in the previous month. Sales ex-autos and gas were down 0.1% m/m, compared to estimates of a 0.3% rise, and versus July's unrevised 0.5% rise. The retail sales control group, a figure used to help calculate GDP, decreased 0.2%, compared to the projected 0.2% rise, and the prior month's figure was unrevised at a 0.6% rise.

Auto activity fell solidly, along with clothing and online sales, while electronics and appliances, and building materials were also lower. Sales of furniture, and at restaurants, food and beverage stores and gas stations all moved higher. Commenting on the potential impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma on the data, the U.S. Census Bureau said overall response was within the range of the past 12 months even though collection in the impacted areas lagged behind recent months.

The preliminary University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index (chart) dipped to 95.3 in September from the prior month's 96.8 level, and compared to expectations for it to decline to 95.0. The current economic conditions component improved m/m, while the expectations measure dropped. The 1-year inflation forecast ticked higher to 2.7% from August's 2.6% rate, while the 5-10 year inflation outlook rose to 2.6% from 2.5%.

Schwab's Director of Market and Sector Analysis, Brad Sorensen, CFA, notes in his article, Consumer Discretionary Sector Rating: Marketperform, the status of the all-important U.S. consumer looks to us to be solid and hasn't shown signs of diminishing to any great degree at this point, but the retail sector faces challenges that warrant our rating. We view the retail sector is "right sizing," which could ultimately help the group down the road. Read more on the Markets & Economy page and follow us on Twitter: @schwabresearch.

Industrial production (chart) fell 0.9% m/m in August—after six-straight monthly gains—versus estimates calling for a 0.1% gain, and compared to July's upwardly revised 0.4% increase. Manufacturing and mining production both declined, while utilities output fell sharply. Capacity utilization declined to 76.1% from July's upwardly revised 76.9% rate, and compared to forecasts of a 76.7% rate. Capacity utilization is 3.8 percentage points below its long-run average. The Federal Reserve noted that Hurricane Harvey is estimated to have reduced the rate of change in total output by roughly ¾ percentage point.

The Empire Manufacturing Index showed output from the New York region remained solidly at a level depicting expansion (a reading above zero) for September. The index dipped to 24.4 from August's unrevised 25.2 level, with forecasts calling for a reading of 18.0.

Business inventories (chart) rose 0.2% m/m in July, matching forecasts, and versus June's unrevised 0.5% increase.

The impact of the hurricanes on incoming data will likely cloud the economic picture in coming months, but as Schwab's Chief Investment Strategist Liz Ann Sonders notes in her article, Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season: The Aftermath of "Harma", we expect to see a dip in economic activity in the short-term, followed by a boost associated with the recovery/rebuilding efforts, and the impact will unlikely dent the Fed's plans to continue monetary policy normalization. Read more on the Markets & Economy page at and follow Liz Ann on Twitter: @lizannsonders.

Treasuries finished lower, with the yields on the 2-year and 10-year notes rising 2 basis points (bps) to 1.38% and 2.20%, respectively, while the 30-year bond rate was flat at 2.77%.

Bond yields are modestly extending this week's sharp rebound from a recent drop back to November lows that came despite upbeat economic data. Yesterday's acceleration in consumer price inflation appeared to bring the Fed back into focus, with expectations of a December rate hike nudging higher, per data compiled by Bloomberg. Schwab's Chief Fixed Income Strategist, Kathy Jones, and Vice President of Trading and Derivatives, Randy Frederick, provide analysis of the bond markets in the video, The Economy is Picking Up, But Bond Yields Are Falling—What's That About?, with Kathy noting that the disconnect between the fixed income markets and the economy is about inflation. Read more on the Insights & Ideas page and follow Kathy and Randy on Twitter: @kathyjones and @randyafrederick.

The U.S. dollar pared its weekly gain, amid flared-up North Korean tensions and another terrorist attack in London. Also, the British pound extended a jump that came from boosted U.K. rate hike expectations. Schwab's Chief Global Investment Strategist Jeffrey Kleintop, CFA, notes in his article, Missiles and Markets: An investor guide to geopolitical risks, investors should avoid overreacting to geopolitical developments and stick to their long-term financial plans. Read more on the International Investing page at

Europe lower as pound and euro rally

European equity markets finished lower, with the euro trading higher versus the U.S. dollar, while the British pound extended its surge to levels not seen in over a year. The pound has jumped on increased rate hike expectations in the wake of yesterday's Bank of England (BoE) monetary policy decision and bolstered hawkish commentary today from a BoE member that had been labeled as dovish. Another missile test over Japan by North Korea and another reported terrorist attack in London likely hampered sentiment, but the reaction appeared limited. Bond yields moved higher, led by the U.K., amid the heightened BoE expectations. In economic news, the eurozone trade surplus narrowed more than expected in July and the region's wage growth posted the fastest pace in two years.

For a look at global investing, see Schwab's Jeffrey Kleintop's, CFA, article, U.S. vs international: what do earnings tell us about what may be ahead?, on the Markets & Economy page at, and his video with Randy Frederick, Is An Optimistic Outlook for Global Equities Warranted?, on the Insights & Ideas page.

Stocks in Asia finished mixed after overcoming a brief bout of risk aversion as North Korea conducted another missile test over Japan. The yen reversed to the downside after an early boost on the North Korean missile launch news, helping Japanese equities gain ground, while South Korean stocks also advanced to display some resiliency. Shares trading in India and Hong Kong ticked higher. Mainland Chinese stocks declined on the heels of yesterday's disappointing retail sales and industrial production reports, which continued to weigh on materials issues, leading to a move to the downside for Australian securities. However, after the closing bell, China reported stronger-than-expected lending statistics for August. Amid the backdrop of the resiliency in the global markets, check out Schwab's Jeffrey Kleintop's, CFA, article, What are fund flows telling us about trends and risks in the global stock market?, as well as his commentary, An important benefit to global investors is back after 20 years, on the Markets & Economy page at

Stocks back on the weekly winning track

U.S. stocks got back to their weekly winning ways, rallying to fresh record highs amid reversals in the currency and bond markets, which contributed to last week's snapped winning streak. Early estimates suggesting Hurricane Irma's economic cost impact could be less than feared underpinned sentiment. Texas refining activity recovered from Hurricane Harvey's blow to boost crude oil prices to the best weekly performance since late July, per Bloomberg. The energy sector led the equity market's weekly jump. Tech stocks posted a respectable gain, bolstered by a rally leading up to Dow member Apple Inc's(AAPL $160) new iPhone unveiling. Consumer price inflation showed signs of accelerating against the favorable economic backdrop—small business optimism unexpectedly improved and the JOLTS' job openings surprisingly posted a record high—to appear to bring the Fed back in focus. The U.S. dollar rebounded from levels not seen in well over two years—though it pared gains on the pound's surge—and Treasury yields jumped off of multi-month lows to boost the financial sector.

This sets the stage for next week's economic calendar that will bring the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) monetary policy decision, which is not expected to deliver a rate hike but could bring the commencement of the slow winding down of the Fed's behemoth $4.5 trillion balance sheet. Housing data will also be in focus, with the releases of the NAHB Housing Market Index, housing starts and building permits and existing home sales. Markit's September preliminary business activity reports and the Leading Index will round out the docket.

As noted in the latest Schwab Market Perspective: A Cat and Mouse Fall, U.S. stocks remain near all-time highs, but we expect some continued churn as fall is shaping up to bring a series of political, geopolitical and monetary policy conflicts which could contribute to greater volatility. Ample global liquidity, healthy economic growth combined with a solid earnings outlook should ultimately allow the bull market to continue. Global economic growth is looking good and is helping to fuel investor optimism over further gains in international stock markets. Read more on the Markets & Economy page at

International reports due out next week that deserve a mention include: China—property prices. Japan—trade balance and the Bank of Japan monetary policy decision. Eurozone—Consumer Price Index and Markit's September business activity reports, as well as German investor confidence. U.K.—retail sales.

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