Fri 8 Sep 2017


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In Portfolioticker today

Today at the stock market

bull/bearThe S&P 500 ended slightly lower on Friday as investors braced for potential damage from Hurricane Irma as it moved toward Florida, while a decline in big tech names like Apple and Facebook pushed the Nasdaq down more sharply. The Dow eked out a gain, helped by a 4.0% rise in shares of insurer Travelers.

  • The S&P 500 fell 3.67 points, or 0.15%, to 2,461.43
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 13.01 points, or 0.06%, to 21,797.79
  • The Nasdaq Composite fell 37.68 points, or 0.59%, to 6,360.19
  • The tech sector, which has outperformed all other major groups this year, ended down 0.9%.
  • Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.19-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.01-to-1 ratio favored advancers.
  • About 6 billion shares changed hands in U.S. exchanges, above the 5.8 billion daily average over the last 20 sessions.

Energy shares fell 1.1% as oil prices dropped on worries that commerce and energy demand in Florida and the Southeast would be hit hard due to Irma.

Major indexes all posted declines for the week after 2 weeks of gains. Geopolitical concerns kept investors on edge as South Korea prepared for a possible further missile test by North Korea on Saturday, days after its 6th and largest nuclear test.
“It’s a confluence of concerns that have been hovering over the market, everything from North Korea … and obviously the hurricane and the damage that will ensue,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.

Despite those macro concerns, the benchmark S&P 500 still is within about 1% of its all-time closing high as investors point to strong corporate earnings and solid economic data as supporting stocks.

Equifax was the biggest percentage loser on the S&P, falling 13.7%, after the provider of consumer credit scores said personal details of as many as 143 million U.S. consumers were hacked.

Kroger shares ended down 7.5% after the biggest U.S. supermarket owner reported a quarterly profit drop amid an intensifying grocery price war.Reuters

Market indices

Market indices
^ Market indices today (mouseover for 12 month view) Chart: Google Finance

Index Ticker Today Change 31 Dec 16 YTD
S&P 500 SPX (INX) 2,461.43 -0.15% 2,238.83 +9.94%
DJIA INDU 21,797.79 +0.05% 19,762.60 +10.29%
NASDAQ IXIC 6,360.19 -0.59% 5,383.12 +18.15%

read_this Portfolio Indices

USD and AUD denominated indices over the past 52 weeks (Chart: Bunting)
^ USD and AUD denominated indices over the past 52 weeks Chart: Bunting

Index values

Index Currency Today Change 31 Dec 16 YTD
USD-denominated Index USD 2.817 -1.43% 2.105 +33.86%
Valuation Rate USD/AUD 0.81028 +0.07% 0.72663 +11.51%
AUD-denominated Index AUD 3.481 -1.50% 2.895 +20.24%

Portfolio stock prices

Stock Ticker Today Change 31 Dec 16 YTD
Alphabet A GOOGL $941.41 -0.90% $792.45 +18.79%
Alphabet C GOOG $926.50 -1.01% $771.82 +20.04%
Apple AAPL $158.63 -1.64% $115.82 +36.96%
Amazon AMZN $965.90 -1.39% $749.87 +28.80%
Ebay EBAY $37.79 -0.58% $29.69 +27.28%
Facebook FB $170.95 -1.31% $115.05 +48.58%
PayPal PYPL $61.13 -1.41% $39.47 +54.87%
Twitter TWTR $17.45 +1.33% $16.30 +7.05%
Visa V $104.43 -0.13% $78.02 +33.85%
VMware VMW $106.10 -0.38% $78.73 +34.76%

FX: USD/AUD

USD

DXY movements
^ Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index (DXY) movements today (mouseover for 12 month view) Chart: Bloomberg

Reduced expectations for another U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate hike this year helped drive down the USD to its lowest in more than 2½ years on Friday and kept gold near a one-year high.

The EUR hit multi-year peaks in the wake of a European Central Bank meeting, while U.S. crude oil prices tanked more than 3% as powerful Hurricane Irma roared toward Florida.

Stubbornly weak inflation continues to surprise Fed policymakers. In a speech on Thursday, New York Fed President William Dudley did not repeat an assertion from three weeks ago that he expects to raise rates once more this year.

Also dampening the USD and lowering the chances of another rate hike was an agreement in Congress to push U.S. debt ceiling talks 3 months down the road to Dec 2017, coinciding with the Fed’s policy meeting.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index (DXY) was down 0.38% after touching a low of 91.011, its weakest since Jan 2015.

The safe-haven Japanese JPY also strengthened 0.61% versus the USD at 107.80 per USD, and the EUR rose 0.12% to USD1.2036.

The EUR’s rally built on European Central Bank’s President Mario Draghi’s suggestion that it may begin tapering its massive stimulus program this fall. Draghi referred several times Thursday to the EUR’s strength and said it was the main reason for a cut in the bank’s 2018-19 inflation forecasts. He also indicated any winding down of its massive stimulus program was likely to be slow.

Those comments did little to deter euro bulls, however, and a Reuters report that central bank officials were in broad agreement that their next step would be to reduce their bond purchases also supported the currency.

The ECB “left the mystery out there” with regard to tapering, said Greg Anderson, global head of foreign exchange strategy at BMO Capital Markets in New York. ‘It creates a feeding frenzy, and the momentum that was there (in the euro) gets accelerated.’Reuters

AUD

AUD movements
^ AUD movements against the USD today (mouseover for 12 month view) Chart: xe.com

Oil and Gas Futures

Futures prices

Oil prices fell sharply on worries that energy demand would be hit by Irma, one of the most powerful storms to near the United States in a century, as it barreled toward Florida and the U.S. Southeast.Reuters

Prices are as at 15:48 EDT

  • NYMEX West Texas Intermediate (WTI): $47.57/barrel -3.10% Chart
  • ICE (London) Brent North Sea Crude: $53.67/barrel -1.50% Chart
  • NYMEX Natural gas futures: $2.90/MMBTU -2.75% Chart

flag_australia AU: Housing Finance. Jul 2017

Press Release Extract [ser_44]

Value of Dwelling Commitments

July 2017 compared with June 2017:

  • The trend estimate for the total value of dwelling finance commitments excluding alterations and additions rose 0.1%. Owner occupied housing commitments rose 0.7% while investment housing commitments fell 1.0%.
  • In seasonally adjusted terms, the total value of dwelling finance commitments excluding alterations and additions fell 0.9%.

Number of Dwelling Commitments

July 2017 compared with June 2017:

  • In trend terms, the number of commitments for owner occupied housing finance rose 0.6% in July 2017.
  • In trend terms, the number of commitments for the construction of dwellings rose 2.0%, the number of commitments for the purchase of new dwellings rose 2.0%, and the number of commitments for the purchase of established dwellings rose 0.3%.
  • In original terms, the number of first home buyer commitments as a percentage of total owner occupied housing finance commitments rose to 16.6% in July 2017 from 14.9% in June 2017.

Australian Bureau of Statistics-, “5609.0 – Housing Finance, Australia, July 2017“, 8 Sep 2017 More

flag_usa US: Employer Costs for Employee Compensation. Jul 2017

Press Release Extract [ser_96]

Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 0.5 percent, seasonally adjusted, for the 3-month period ending in June 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Wages and salaries (which make up about 70 percent of compensation costs) increased 0.5 percent, and benefits (which make up the remaining 30 percent of compensation) increased 0.6 percent.

us_eci_20170908

Civilian Workers

Compensation costs for civilian workers increased 2.4 percent for the 12-month period ending in June 2017. In June 2016, compensation costs increased 2.3 percent. Wages and salaries increased 2.3 percent for the current 12-month period and increased 2.5 percent for the 12-month period ending in June 2016. Benefit costs increased 2.5 percent for the 12-month period ending in June 2017. In June 2016, the increase was 2.0 percent.

Private Industry Workers

Compensation costs for private industry workers increased 2.4 percent over the year. In June 2016, the increase was the same. Wages and salaries increased 2.4 percent for the current 12-month period. In June 2016, the increase was 2.6 percent. The cost of benefits rose 2.2 percent for the 12-month period ending in June 2017, higher than the 1.7 percent increase in June 2016.

Employer costs for health benefits increased 1.2 percent for the 12-month period ending in June 2017.

Among occupational groups, compensation cost increases for private industry workers for the 12-month period ending in June 2017 ranged from 1.7 percent for sales and office occupations to 2.9 percent for service occupations.

Among industry supersectors, compensation cost increases for private industry workers for the 12-month period ending in June 2017 ranged from 1.8 percent for professional and business services to 3.9 percent for leisure and hospitality.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employer Costs for Employee Compensation. Jul 2017“, 8 Sep 2017 (10:00) More

flag_usa US: Monthly Wholesale Trade: Sales and Inventories. Jun 2017

Press Release Extract [ser_us_wholesale]

Sales

July 2017 sales of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, after adjustment for seasonal variations and trading-day differences but not for price changes, were $465.1 billion, down 0.1 percent (±0.2 percent) from the revised June level, but were up 5.9 percent (±1.1 percent) from the July 2016 level. The May 2017 to June 2017 percent change was revised from the preliminary estimate of up 0.7 percent (±0.5 percent) to up 0.6 percent (±0.7 percent).

us_whi_20170908

Inventories

Total inventories of merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, after adjustment for seasonal variations but not for price changes, were $602.4 billion at the end of July, up 0.6 percent (±0.4 percent) from the revised June level. Total inventories were up 3.3 percent (±0.7 percent) from the revised July 2016 level. The June 2017 to July 2017 percent change was revised from the advance estimate of up 0.4 percent (±0.4 percent) to up 0.6 percent (±0.4 percent).

Inventories/Sales Ratio

The July inventories/sales ratio for merchant wholesalers, except manufacturers’ sales branches and offices, based on seasonally adjusted data, was 1.30. The July 2016 ratio was 1.33.

US Census Bureau, “Monthly Wholesale Trade: Sales and Inventories. Jun 2017“, 8 Sep 2017 (10:00) More

flag_usa US: Consumer Credit. Jul 2017

Consumer credit in the U.S. increased by more than anticipated in the month of Jul 2017, according to a report released by the Federal Reserve on Friday.

The Fed said consumer credit jumped by $18.5 billion in Jul2017 after rising by a downwardly revised $11.8 billion in Jun 2017. Economists had expected consumer credit to climb by $15.1 billion compared to the $12.4 billion increase originally reported for the previous month.

The bigger than expected increase in consumer credit came as non-revolving credit such as student loans and car loans surged up by $15.8 billion in Jul 2017 after climbing by $7.1 billion in Jun 2017. Revolving credit, which largely reflects credit card debt, edged up by a more modest $2.6 billion in Jul 2017 after rising by $4.7 billion in Jun 2017.

The Fed said consumer credit increased by an annual rate of 5.9% in July, as revolving and non-revolving credit rose by 3.2% and 6.9%.RTT/Business Insider

flag_japan Japan update

Currency: USD/JPY

JPY movements
^ JPY movements against the USD over the past month (mouseover for inverse) Chart: xe.com

Stockmarket: Nikkei 225

N225 movements
^ Nikkei N225 movements over the past week Chart: Google Finance

flag_china China update

Currency: USD/CNY

CNY movements
^ CNY movements against the USD over the past month (mouseover for inverse) Chart: xe.com

Stockmarket: CSI300

CSI300 movements
^ Shanghai CSI300 movements over the past week Chart: Google Finance