As we look back on markets last week, we see mixed results, with none of the major domestic indexes gaining or losing more than 1%. The S&P 500 was down 0.10% for the week, and the Dow gave back 0.39%, once again failing to reach 20,000. On the other hand, the NASDAQ increased by 0.96% and reached its sixth record close in 2017 on Friday-pushed by a 1.36% rally for Facebook after Raymond James upgraded its stock. International stocks in the MSCI EAFE added 0.82%.
What We Saw Last Week
Big banks reported earnings. Earnings season is upon us. On Friday, we saw JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and PNC Financial beat profit expectations. These positive results add some weight to the post-election financials rally, where financial-sector equities in the S&P 500 have added 17% since the election. A number of other banks will report this week, and we will look to see if their performance also matches the growth we have seen so far.
Retail sales grew. The December monthly retail sales report showed a 0.6% increase, slightly below the 0.7% consensus expectations. With this growth, retail sales are now up 4.1% in the past year. However, not all retailers are performing well. General merchandise stores are suffering as consumers continue to shop online and move away from in-person retail stores. We see the results of this trend in declining retails sales numbers and large companies announcing store closures, including Macy's, Sears, CVS, and many more.
Consumer sentiment was high but divided. The University of Michigan's monthly report on consumer sentiment was 98.1, just below predictions but still near highs we have not seen since 2004. One interesting finding in the report is a strong partisan divide in consumer confidence. Richard Curtin, director of the consumer survey, described "extreme differences" between people's expectations for whether new political policies would help or hurt the economy. He reminded people that the most impact on consumer sentiment will come from "actual changes in the economy" as a result of Trump's work, which we will have to wait a few months to see.
What We're Looking at in the Week Ahead
Earnings season continues. The markets will be watching earnings closely during this four-day trading week-especially to see if other major financial institutions also beat expectations. Some analysts believe that to keep the current market rally going and demonstrate that there is weight behind the post-election growth, we'll need to see excellent reports from most companies.
A number of high-profile companies report this week, including:
- Morgan Stanley
- Goldman Sachs
- American Express
- UnitedHealth Group
- General Electric Co.
Donald Trump becomes President. While earnings reports will be important to track, another event looms larger in many people's minds: Donald Trump's inauguration. After he takes the oath of office Friday morning and becomes President of the United States, we will begin to see how the market's expectations for Trump's policies match reality.
From trade to taxes to infrastructure and beyond, the next few months will give us a number of insights into how U.S. policies may change. Uncertainty remains, and we will watch for political developments that may affect the markets. In addition, we will continue to focus on the fundamentals that provide deep insight into how the economy is performing-and how we can strive to keep you on track toward your goals.
Monday: U.S. Markets Closed in Observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Wednesday: Consumer Price Index, Industrial Production, Housing Market Index
Thursday: Housing Starts
Notes: All index returns exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. Sources: Yahoo! Finance, S&P Dow Jones Indices and Treasury.gov. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Corporate bond performance is represented by the SPUSCIG. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.
These are the views of Platinum Advisor Marketing Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative and PlanMember Securities Corporation, and should not be construed as investment advice. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by PlanMember Securities Corporation. Neither the named representative nor PlanMember Securities gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, PlanMember Securities makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial representative for further information.
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International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors.
The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.
The 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 stocks of technology companies and growth companies.
The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indices from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.
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