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Friday, September 29, 2017

Stocks Trade Higher, Finish Q3 with Solid Gains

Charles Schwab: On the Market
Posted: 9/29/2017 4:15 PM EDT

Stocks Trade Higher, Finish Q3 with Solid Gains
U.S. stocks closed the last trading day of Q3 higher as shares added to weekly, monthly and quarterly advances. In economic developments, personal income and spending matched forecasts though the PCE deflator—a measure of consumer price inflation—was cooler-than-expected, and the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index unexpectedly jumped further into expansion territory. In equity news, KB Home topped earnings estimates and mostly matched revenue forecasts, while Tyson Foods increased its earnings outlook for the current year. Treasury yields diverged and the U.S. dollar was lower. Crude oil prices were mixed and gold traded lower.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) increased 24 points (0.1%) to 22,405, the S&P 500 Index was 9 points (0.4%) higher at 2,519, and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 43 points (0.7%) to 6,496. In moderate-to-heavy volume, 929 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 2.0 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq.

WTI crude oil added $0.11 to $51.57 per barrel and wholesale gasoline was $0.02 lower at $1.59 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price declined $6.66 to $1,280.64 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—was 0.1% lower at 93.06.

Markets were higher for the week, as the DJIA gained 0.3%, the S&P 500 Index added 0.7% higher and the Nasdaq Composite increased 1.1%.

KB Home (KBH $24) reported Q3 earnings-per-share (EPS) of $0.51, above the $0.46 FactSet estimate, as revenues rose 25.0% year-over-year (y/y) to $1.1 billion, roughly in line with forecasts. The homebuilder said deliveries, average selling price, net order value and operating margin all grew. KBH said it believes it is well positioned heading into the closing months of the year, with a backlog value of more than $2.0 billion and positive conditions in most of its served markets. Shares traded solidly higher.

Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN $70) raised its earnings outlook for the current year, due primarily to much better-than-expected profits in its beef segment. The protein producer also said all its segments will perform well in 2018. Shares jumped.

The consumer staples sector is the focus of Schwab's Director of Market and Sector Analysis, Brad Sorensen's, CFA, latest Schwab Sector Views: Consumer Staples: More than Meets the Eye, on the Market Commentary page at Brad notes that the consumer staples sector is broader than most investors likely think it is and is often perceived as boring. But the group has had some real action lately, although not all of it positive. The staples group can be an important part of a portfolio, but without deteriorating economic conditions, a market weighting is the most we can justify. Follow us on Twitter: @schwabresearch.

Personal income and spending match forecasts, regional manufacturing activity jumps

Personal income (chart) was 0.2% higher month-over-month (m/m) in August, in line with the Bloomberg forecast, and compared to July's downwardly revised 0.3% increase. Personal spending ticked 0.1% higher last month, matching expectations, and versus July's unrevised 0.3% gain. The

August savings rate as a percentage of disposable income was 3.6%. The PCE Deflator was 0.2% higher, below expectations of a 0.3% gain and versus the prior month's unrevised 0.1% rise. Compared to last year, the deflator was 1.4% higher, south of estimates of a 1.5% increase and in line with July's unrevised rise. Excluding food and energy, the PCE Core Index was 0.1% higher m/m, below expectations of a 0.2% gain, and the index was up 1.3% y/y, versus estimates calling for it to match July's unrevised 1.4% increase.

The final September University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index (chart) was revised lower to 95.1 from the preliminary level of 95.3, where it was expected to remain. The index was down versus August's level of 96.8. Compared to last month, the expectations component of the report improved, though the current conditions portion slipped. The 1-year inflation outlook ticked higher to 2.7% from August's 2.6% rate, and the 5-10 year forecast remained at 2.5%.

The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index (chart) unexpectedly jumped further into expansion territory (above 50) for September, after rising to 65.2 from August's unrevised 58.9 level, and versus expectations calling for a dip to 58.7. The index moved back to near June's three-year high of 65.7 as new orders and production continued to grow, while employment moved back into expansion territory and order backlogs hit a 29-year high. However, prices paid increased significantly to the highest since July 2011, bolstered by elevated commodity prices and the hurricane(s)-induced materials shortage.

Treasuries were mixed, but tilted to the downside following the regional manufacturing report, with the yields on the 2-year and 10-year notes rising 3 basis points (bps) to 1.48% and 2.34%, respectively, while the 30-year bond rate dipped 1 bp to 2.86%.

Treasury yields and the U.S. dollar have rallied recently, with the rate on the 10-year note hitting multi-month highs and the greenback moving to a level not seen in over a month. These moves have been bolstered by heightened December Fed rate hike expectations and apparent cautious optimism regarding fiscal policy as the markets scrutinize this week's release of tax reform details.

Schwab's Chief Global Investment Strategist Jeffrey Kleintop, CFA, offers analysis of the global monetary policy front in his article, How the Shift by Central Banks May Affect the Stock Market, on the Market Commentary page at Also, Schwab's Vice President of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, Michael T. Townsend discusses the tax reform details his latest article, Tax Reform Framework Released, But The Road Ahead Is Long, on the Insights & Ideas page. Follow Jeff on Twitter: @jeffreykleintop.

The stock markets have shown some relative resiliency in the face of a plethora of things to worry about, as discussed by Schwab's Chief Investment Strategist Liz Ann Sonders in her article, Comfortably Numb? An Update on Investor Sentiment, on the Market Commentary page at Follow Liz Ann on Twitter: @lizannsonders.

Europe adds to weekly, monthly and quarterly gains, Asia mostly higher

European equity markets finished higher, adding to solid gains for the week, month and quarter, as a plethora of diverging economic data in the region was highlighted by an upbeat read on German unemployment and U.K. consumer data. The euro gained ground on the U.S. dollar but pared an upside move as the greenback found some support from a jump in regional manufacturing activity.

The British pound saw some pressure to help bolster the U.K. markets. The eurozone consumer price inflation estimate came in a bit cooler than expected for this month, while German retail sales unexpectedly declined last month. U.K. Q2 GDP growth was unrevised at a 0.3% quarter-over-quarter pace, but the 1.5% y/y expansion came in below estimates. Economists are pointing to the savings and income component of the GDP report, which showed the former rose and the latter outpaced inflation for the first time in a year to boost optimism regarding the health of the U.K. consumer, per Bloomberg. French consumer spending surprisingly declined last month, though Germany's unemployment fell more than forecasted for this month. In other economic news, U.K. business investment for Q2 and September home prices came in above estimates. Bond yields in the region moved to the downside. For a look at the global markets, see Schwab's Jeffrey Kleintop's, CFA, article, U.S. vs International: What Do Earnings Tell Us About What May Be Ahead?, on the Market Commentary page at

Stocks in Asia tilted to the upside to close out a mixed month, though conviction may have been held in check ahead of next week's plethora of holidays, notably in China where the markets will experience an extended break. Also, the markets digested a host of Japanese economic data. Japan's consumer price inflation rose mostly in line with forecasts in August, but a read on consumer inflation in Tokyo for September a bit cooler than expected. Also, the nation's household spending and retail sales for last month missed forecasts but its preliminary read on industrial production rose more than expected. Japanese equities finished flat, with the yen paring a recent drop that has fueled solid gains for the stock markets this month. Shares trading in mainland China and Hong Kong rose ahead of next week's holidays and tonight's reads on manufacturing and services sector activity.

Australian securities gained ground and South Korean stocks advanced, while Indian equities finished little changed. As the quarter comes to a close, Schwab's Jeffrey Kleintop, CFA, and Vice President of Trading and Derivatives, Randy Frederick offer the video, Is An Optimistic Outlook for Global Equities Warranted?, on the Insights & Ideas page at Follow Randy on Twitter: @randyafrederick.

Stocks nudge higher on week to tack onto solid Q3 gains

U.S. stocks capped off a Q3 rally with a modest weekly advance. The business spending component of the August durable goods orders report posted a back-to-back monthly jump and Q2 GDP growth was unexpectedly revised higher to 3.1%, adding to an upbeat economic backdrop. This may have helped the markets shrug off elevated December Fed rate hike expectations, which were preserved by continued hawkish rhetoric from the Fed, headlined by Chairwoman Janet Yellen's speech. Financials were one of the best performers as Treasury yields extended a rally, along with the U.S. dollar. Energy issues continued their quarterly rally as crude oil prices remained in recovery mode. The release of the framework for tax reform also appeared to underpin sentiment even as the timing and potential areas of contention were highly scrutinized. Technology issues gained slightly, adding to their decisive quarterly outperformance. However, utilities finished lower on the week amid the upside move in interest rates and healthcare stocks saw some pressure as the sector continued to face regulatory uncertainty and fiscal policy concerns. The consumer staples sector, the worst quarterly performer, nudged higher on the week, along with consumer discretionary issues, despite Dow member Nike Inc's (NKE $52) disappointing outlook.

As Q4 begins next week, the economic calendar will be robust, beginning with the ISM Manufacturing Index, Markit's Manufacturing PMI Index and September auto sales. The ISM non-Manufacturing Index and Markit's Services PMI Index will follow, along with the trade balance and factory orders. However, the docket will culminate with Friday's September nonfarm payroll report, with the wage component likely poised to garner the heaviest attention.

As noted in the latest Schwab Market Perspective: Fourth Quarter Fun…or Folly?, the resiliency of stocks continues but risks of a pullback exist with signs of investor complacency and heightened political and geopolitical uncertainties. U.S. economic data will likely be skewed by the hurricanes' impact but the underlying trend should remain positive. Earnings reporting season will begin with elevated expectations, so the ability to hurdle the bar is getting tougher, but if surprises are biased to the upside, stocks should perform well. Non-U.S. stocks are about to hit multiple milestones, which typically shouldn't concern investors as underlying fundamentals continue to appear solid. Read more on the Market Commentary page at

International reports due out next week that deserve a mention include: Australia—the Reserve Bank of Australia monetary policy decision, building approvals and trade balance. China—Manufacturing and non-Manufacturing PMIs. India—Reserve Bank of India monetary policy decision and PMIs. Japan—Q3 Tankan Large Manufacturing Index and labor earnings. Eurozone—unemployment rate, Markit's business activity reports, retail sales, and the minutes from the European Central Bank's September meeting, as well as German factory orders. U.K.—Markit's business activity reports and new car registrations.

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