Uncertainty Keeps Markets Wandering
U.S. equities finished modestly lower and near the unchanged mark, as investors look ahead to monetary policy meetings out of the U.S., the U.K. and Japan, as well as Friday’s domestic jobs report, to gain more clarity.
Treasuries were modestly higher, following mixed economic data, while crude oil prices continued to selloff, exacerbated by disappointing OPEC talks over the weekend. Gold was higher, while the U.S. dollar was nearly flat.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 19 points (0.1%) to 18,142
The S&P 500 Index was nearly unchanged at 2,126
The Nasdaq Composite ticked nearly 1 point lower to 5,189
In heavy volume, 1.0 billion shares were traded on the NYSE and 1.7 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq
WTI crude oil tumbled $1.84 to $46.86 per barrel, wholesale gasoline ticked $0.03 lower to $1.42 per gallon
The Bloomberg gold spot price rose $2.58 to $1,278.05 per ounce
The Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—was nearly unchanged at 98.35
Personal income and spending rise
Personal income was 0.3% higher month-over-month (m/m) in September, below the Bloomberg forecast of a 0.4% rise, and compared to August’s unrevised 0.2% increase. Personal spending gained 0.5% last month, north of the expected 0.4% increase and versus August’s downwardly revised 0.1% dip. The September savings rate as a percentage of disposable income was 5.7%. The PCE Deflator was up 0.2%, matching expectations. Compared to last year, the deflator was 1.2% higher, in line with estimates. Excluding food and energy, the PCE Core Index moved 0.1% higher m/m, matching expectations, and the index was up 1.7% y/y, in line with estimates.
The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index fell but clung to expansion territory (above 50), after dropping to 50.6 in October from 54.2 in September and versus expectations of a dip to 54.0. New orders, production and inventories declined, while order backlogs and employment rose.
The Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index improved to -1.5 for October, from September’s unrevised -3.7 level, with economists forecasting an increase to 2.0. A reading below zero denotes contraction in activity.
Treasuries were higher, as the yield on the 2-year note lost 1 basis point (bp) to 0.85%, while the yields on the 10-year note and the 30-year bond dipped by 3 bps to 1.83% and 2.59%, respectively.
A heavy week of data will continue tomorrow, with key reads on October manufacturing activity, courtesy of the ISM Manufacturing Index and the final Markit Manufacturing PMI Index (economic calendar). ISM’s index is projected to tick higher to 51.7 from 51.5 in September, while Markit’s index is estimated to be unrevised at 53.2, and up from September’s 51.5 level. Readings above 50 denote expansion. As well, construction spending will be reported, forecasted to have risen 0.5% m/m during September, following the 0.7% decline seen in August.
However, Wednesday’s monetary policy decision from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) and Friday’s October nonfarm payroll report are poised to command most of the attention, with traders looking to clear up uncertainty regarding a December rate hike.
As noted previously, economic data continues to support a sluggish growth narrative, although there are glimmers of hope that we could see at least a modest acceleration in 2017. Barring a surprise move on Wednesday, which could jolt the market as odds of a hike at that meeting remain low, the focus on the Fed will move back to the forefront following the election, with all eyes on the December meeting. Fed members have been preparing the market and investors for a hike, and we believe, after several false starts, it will actually follow through this time around. Perhaps equally as important will be the message the Fed sends around the next two meetings regarding what it may be looking to do into 2017.
Europe sees red, Asia mixed amid lingering uncertainty
European equities finished lower, with oil & gas issues seeing pressure after talks over the weekend between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) yielded no new developments regarding a production cut. Also, global sentiment was stymied by flared-up U.S. Presidential uncertainty as the November election looms, while Italian banking concerns resurfaced. In economic news, preliminary Eurozone Q3 GDP rose at a 0.3% quarter-over-quarter (q/q) pace, matching forecasts and 2Q’s expansion, while output grew 1.6% year-over-year, in line with estimates and the prior quarter’s gain. However, German retail sales unexpectedly dropped in September. The euro was lower versus the U.S. dollar and British pound reversed to the upside in late-day action, while bond yields in the region dipped.
The U.K. FTSE 100 Index and Spain’s IBEX 35 Index were down 0.6%, France’s CAC-40 Index decreased 0.9%, Germany’s DAX Index declined 0.3%, Switzerland’s Swiss Market Index dropped 1.0%, and Italy’s FTSE MIB Index fell 1.2%.
Stocks in Asia finished mixed, as the global markets remain uncertain regarding the presidential race in the U.S., while the world monetary policy landscape continues to garner attention, with decisions looming in the U.S. and U.K. this week, and the Bank of Japan expected to announce its policy stance tomorrow.
The persistent pressure on crude oil prices also bogged down the energy sector, exacerbated by no production cut agreement following weekend talks between OPEC. Stocks in Japan dipped on the heels of a disappointing September industrial production report, which may have overshadowed some weakness in the yen and the announcement that the nation’s three largest shipping companies agreed to combine their container operations.
Mainland Chinese equities and those traded in Hong Kong also dipped, while South Korean listings declined markedly, even as a report showed the country’s industrial production unexpectedly rose in September. Strength in Australian mining issues gave that nation’s markets a boost, as China strengthened its currency, more than offsetting sluggishness in oil & gas stocks and a drop in the tech sector. Finally, markets in India were closed for a holiday.