S&P 500 Posts 0.5% Weekly Loss Amid Continued Trade, Currency Concerns; Energy, Financials Lead Drop
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 0.5% this week as investors continued to fret about friction between the US and China over trade and currencies.
The market benchmark ended the week at 2,918.65, down from last week’s closing level of 2932.05. This caps a rollercoaster of a week for US stocks amid concerns about the trade dispute and how that might be rippling over into the currency market, where Beijing has let the yuan weaken following US threats of more tariffs on Chinese goods.
Friday, investors grew more concerned as US President Donald Trump said, “we will see whether or not China keeps our meeting in September.”
The S&P 500 is now down 2.1% for the month of August. However, it is still up 16% for the year to date.
The energy sector had the largest percentage drop of the week, down 2.2%, as crude-oil futures fell for the third week out of the past four weeks. This came as the International Energy Agency downgraded its forecast for global oil demand growth for the third time in four months, expressing increasing concern over the impact of the trade battle between the US and China on economic and oil demand growth.
The financial sector had the next-largest percentage drop of the week, down 1.7%. Its decliners included E*TRADE Financial (ETFC), which fell 8.4% on the week. Deutsche Bank downgraded its investment rating on the financial-services company’s stock to hold from buy while lowering its price target on the shares to $45 each from $52.
Meanwhile, the upside was led by the real-estate sector, up 1.8%, followed by utilities, up 1.0%. The real-estate sector’s gainers included Equinix (EQIX), which rose 5.4% as RBC Capital Markets raised its price target on the data-center company’s stock to $563 from $520, citing ” roll-forward flow-through impacts” from the company’s Q2 results reported in late July.
Among utilities stocks, shares of WEC Energy Group (WEC) added 3.8% this week as the company reported Q2 earnings per share above the Street view despite weaker-than-expected revenue. The company also increased its earnings guidance for 2019.