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Dow, S&P 500 close at record highs ahead of major retail earnings reports

Dow, S&P 500 close at record highs ahead of major retail earnings reports

16 Aug 2021

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 notched fresh record closes on Monday ahead of major retail earnings reports this week.

After paring losses earlier in the session, the Dow added about 109 points, or around 0.3%. The S&P 500 gained 0.26%. The Nasdaq Composite dipped roughly 0.2%.

Retail stocks inched higher ahead of quarterly earnings reports from major companies. Home Depot and Walmart each rose ahead of Tuesday reports. Target and Lowe’s also both edged higher ahead of reports slated Wednesday.

The major U.S. stock indexes saw losses earlier Monday amid fears of slowing global growth, with China’s economic recovery lagging and oil prices falling.

Data showed Chinese economic growth slowing more than expected. China’s retail sales increased by 8.5% in July year-over-year, below the 11.5% forecast from economists polled by Reuters. Online sales gained just 4.4% for the month. On the manufacturing sector in the country, industrial production increased by 6.4%, below the 7.8% consensus estimate.

The country’s National Bureau of Statistics noted an impact from Covid and domestic flooding, saying the country’s “economic recovery is still unstable and uneven.”

“Delta driven slowdown grips China,” CNBC’s Jim Cramer said in a tweet. “Not sure of impact here yet.”

Oil prices dropped after the release of the Chinese economic data. U.S. oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell, pressuring energy names. Occidental Petroleum, Exxon Mobil and Chevron where all lower.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note dipped below the 1.26% level as investors worried about global growth. Bond yields fall as their prices rise.

Bank stocks trended lower as the 10-year yield fell. Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs each dropped.

Tesla’s stock retreated Monday after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a formal probe into the electric vehicle maker’s Autopilot partially automated driving system.

Shares of Moderna, which are up more than 250% this year, ebbed lower Monday.

U.S. stocks also pulled back amid growing support within the Federal Reserve to announce a tapering of its bond purchases in September and begin the reduction in buying a month or so after. Interviews with central bank officials, along with their public comments, show growing support for a faster taper timeline than markets had expected a month ago.

The major stock indexes for much of the last month have ground to new records on the back of robust corporate earnings results. The S&P 500 as of Friday has closed at a record high 48 times this year out of 155 trading days, or 31% of the time — the most frequent closing highs on record back to 1950.

Eighty-seven percent of S&P 500 companies have reported positive earnings per share surprises for the second calendar quarter, according to FactSet as of Friday. If 87% is the final percentage, it will mark the highest percentage of S&P 500 companies reporting positive EPS surprises since FactSet began tracking this metric in 2008.

“These are the dog days of August, and low volume and directionless volatility are the order of the moment with 2Q21 earnings season mostly behind us,” Raymond James’ Tavis McCourt said in a note.

— With reporting by Evelyn Cheng.