Category Archives: Daily Insights

Market Insights 11/12/2019

U.S. equities finished mostly higher and nearly unchanged in another lackluster trading session.

Treasury yields were modestly lower after yesterday’s holiday break, and as small business optimism improved slightly more than expected.

Gold prices finished positive and the U.S. dollar was higher, while crude oil prices were little changed.

The Markets…

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was unchanged at 27,691

The S&P 500 Index increased 5 points (0.2%) to 3,092

The Nasdaq Composite gained 22 points (0.3%) to 8,486

In moderate volume, 790 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 1.9 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq

WTI crude oil ticked $0.06 lower to $56.80 per barrel and wholesale gasoline was unchanged at $1.61 per gallon

The Bloomberg gold spot price was $2.69 higher at $1,458.55 per ounce

The Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—increased 0.1% to 98.34

Small business optimism ticks higher in October

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index for October rose to 102.4 from September’s unrevised 101.8 level, and compared to the Bloomberg expectation of an increase to 102.0.

Treasuries were modestly higher following yesterday’s holiday break and a recent drop, as the yield on the 2-year note dipped 2 basis points to 1.65%, while the yields on the 10-year note and the 30-year bond were 3 bps lower at 1.92% and 2.39%, respectively.

Tomorrow, investors will get the first look at the October inflation picture, courtesy of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), forecasted to show prices rose 0.3% month-over-month (m/m) following the flat reading posted in September, while the core rate, which strips out the volatile food and energy components, is anticipated to have gained 0.2% m/m after ticking 0.1% higher m/m the month prior. MBA Mortgage Applications are also slated for release.

Europe mostly higher on reports U.S. may delay auto tariffs and data

European equities finished mostly higher amid some apparent caution ahead of the afternoon speech from U.S. President Donald Trump, while reports that the U.S. could delay a decision on imposing tariffs on the region’s auto sector also seemed to somewhat support sentiment.

Plus, the markets continued to focus on the recently increased optimism regarding a U.S.-China “phase one” trade agreement. The euro was lower versus the U.S. dollar, while the British pound gained ground on the greenback.

The U.K. FTSE 100 Index rose 0.5%, Germany’s DAX Index was up 0.7%, France’s CAC-40 Index rose 0.4%, Italy’s FTSE MIB Index rallied 1.2%, and Switzerland’s Swiss Market Index ticked 0.1% higher, while Spain’s IBEX 35 Index declined 0.9%.

Stocks in Asia finished mostly higher after slipping yesterday on disappointing economic data out of China, Japan and India, with the markets continuing to monitor the prospect of a U.S.-China “phase one” trade deal, as well as the escalated unrest in Hong Kong.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose 0.8%, with the yen slipping, while South Korea’s Kospi Index also moved 0.8% to the upside.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.2% and the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index gained 0.5%, trimming some of yesterday’s drop.

Market Insights 11/11/2019

U.S. equities finished mixed, staging somewhat of a midday comeback off the lows after posting a fifth-straight weekly gain and all-time highs for the three major indexes last week.

The U.S. dollar was lower, as were gold and crude oil prices.

The Markets…

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 10 points to 27,691

The S&P 500 Index decreased 6 points (0.2%) to 3,087

The Nasdaq Composite declined 11 points (0.1%) to 8,464

In moderate volume, 760 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 1.7 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq

WTI crude oil lost $0.38 to $56.86 per barrel and wholesale gasoline shed $0.02 to $1.61 per gallon

The Bloomberg gold spot price was $3.56 lower at $1,455.44 per ounce

The Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—declined 0.2% to 98.20

Economic front and bond markets take a break before heavy week

The U.S. bond markets were closed in observance of the Veterans Day Holiday.

The economic calendar was empty today, but the docket will remain robust this week with an emphasis on inflation and consumer spending for October, courtesy of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the Producer Price Index (PPI) and the Import Price Index, as well as retail sales.

While volatility has remained subdued and U.S. stocks are at all-time highs, a near-term concern is that investor sentiment may be getting a bit too frothy. The potential signing of a “phase one” U.S.-China trade deal and rollback of some tariffs has contributed substantially to the rally; yet the proposals made have yet to be corroborated by anything in writing.

Europe mixed following data and amid resurfaced trade and geopolitical concerns

European equities finished mixed amid divergent headlines as of late that seemed to foster some uncertainty regarding a “phase one” U.S.-China trade deal, while the escalated unrest in Hong Kong that turned violent over the weekend appeared to also weigh on sentiment. U.K. economic and earnings data was also heavy and painted a mixed picture, with the region’s Q3 GDP rebounding back into expansion territory, posting a 0.3% quarter-over-quarter pace of growth, after contracting 0.2% in Q2, but missing the expected 0.4% increase.

The U.K. FTSE 100 Index fell 0.4%, Germany’s DAX Index and Italy’s FTSE MIB Index were down 0.2%, and Spain’s IBEX 35 Index dipped 0.1%, while Switzerland’s Swiss Market Index was little changed and France’s CAC-40 Index gained 0.1%.

Stocks in Asia finished lower to kick off the week, with U.S.-China trade uncertainty resurfacing amid mixed headlines regarding the likelihood of a “phase one” trade agreement, while a violent turn in protests in Hong Kong appeared to further stymie sentiment. Economic data was also in focus and painted a mostly downbeat tone.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.8% and the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index dropped 2.6%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index decreased 0.3% and South Korea’s Kospi Index declined 0.6%. However, India’s S&P BSE Sensex 30 Index ticked 0.1% higher and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.7%.

U.S. Market Weekly Summary – Week Ending 11/08/2019

S&P 500 Posts 0.9% Weekly Gain to Another Record, Led by Financials, Materials, Energy, Industrials

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.9% this week to another record close as the financial, materials, energy and industrial sectors led a fairly broad climb amid continued enthusiasm over better-than-expected quarterly earnings results.

The market benchmark ended the week at 3,093.08, up from last week’s closing level of 3,066.91. The measure reached another record intra-day high this week, this time at 3,097.77 on Thursday, while Friday’s closing level marks another fresh closing high. The S&P 500 is now up 23% for the year to date.

The market has been reaching the new highs on improved investor sentiment as many companies’ Q3 earnings reports have been coming in better than expected while recent economic data have also shown encouraging signs. Friday, the University of Michigan’s preliminary reading of consumer sentiment for November showed a slight improvement from late October.

The financial sector had the largest percentage gain of the week, up 2.4%, followed by materials and energy, up 2.0% each, and industrials, up 1.8%. Four sectors ended the week in the red: real estate, down 3.7%; utilities, down 3.7%; consumer staples, down 0.5%; and consumer discretionary, down 0.2%.

The financial sector’s gainers included Hartford (HIG), whose shares climbed 6.2% as the US insurance company reported Q3 results that topped Wall Street expectations. The stock received increases to its price targets from RBC Capital Markets and Morgan Stanley following the better-than-expected report.

In the industrial sector, the week’s advancers included Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), whose shares rose 9.1% on the week as the company reported Q3 diluted earnings per share that, while down from the year-earlier quarter, were still higher than the EPS consensus estimate from analysts polled by Capital IQ. The defense shipbuilding company’s Q3 revenue also came in slightly better than analysts’ mean estimate and CEO Mike Petters expressed confidence in the company’s ability to achieve shipbuilding margins of 9% to 10% in 2020.

On the downside, the real-estate sector’s decliners included Ventas (VTR), which received a reduction to its price target from RBC Capital Markets to $64 from $71.

In the utilities sector, shares of Pinnacle West Capital (PNW) fell 7.6% as the company reported Q3 earnings and revenue below analysts’ mean estimates. The company also warned it doesn’t expect to reach the lower end of its full-year EPS guidance range due to milder-than-normal weather conditions.

Growth vs Value Shift

The S&P 500 Value Index reversed its downward price trend relative to the S&P 500 Growth Index on August 23. Since then, the value index gained 12.3% in price through November 8 and outpaced its growth sibling by a more than two-to-one margin.

Understandably, investors wonder if this move is nothing more than a head fake. Now, value investors have reason to feel optimistic, since the S&P 500 Value Index is trading at a 4% discount to its average P/E since 2003, whereas the Growth Index trades at a whopping 24% premium.

Going one step further by comparing these valuations with the broader market, we see that the Value Index’s relative P/E is 10% below its 15-year average, while the Growth Index is 13% higher than normal.

Value investors may also be encouraged that the market is rotating rather than retreating, meaning that we are seeing a gravitation toward more attractively valued sectors, styles and sizes rather than a cashing out altogether.

Market Insights 11/6/2019

U.S. equities finished mixed, ending a streak of record highs for the Dow and Nasdaq, as the optimism surrounding progress in a “phase one” U.S.-China trade deal that has pushed markets higher was tempered by reports that a meeting between President Trump and Chinese President Xi may be delayed until December.

Treasury yields were lower, as was the U.S. dollar and crude oil prices, while gold gained ground.

The Markets…

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was nearly unchanged at 27,493

The S&P 500 Index inched 2 points (0.1%) higher to 3,077

The Nasdaq Composite lost 24 points (0.3%) to 8,411

In heavy volume, 980 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 2.3 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq

WTI crude oil declined $0.88 to $56.35 per barrel and wholesale gasoline was down $0.04 at $1.63 per gallon

The Bloomberg gold spot price rose $7.58 to $1,491.19 per ounce

The Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—lost 0.1% to 97.94

Q3 non-farm productivity surprisingly slips and costs rise more than expected, mortgage apps dip

Preliminary Q3 non-farm productivity declined 0.3% on an annualized basis, versus the Bloomberg expectation of a 0.9% gain, and following the upwardly-revised 2.5% increase seen in Q2. Labor productivity, or output per hour, is calculated by dividing real output by hours worked by all persons, including employees, proprietors, and unpaid family workers. During the quarter, output increased 2.1% and hours worked increased 2.4%.

This was the first decline in productivity since Q4 of 2015, with the Department of Labor noting that in Q3 2019, self-employed workers made an unusually large contribution to growth in hours worked. Productivity is a major contributor to the economy’s long-term health and prosperity.

The MBA Mortgage Application Index dipped 0.1% last week, following the prior week’s 0.6% gain. The slight decline came as a 1.8% rise for the Refinance Index was more than offset by a 2.5% decrease for the Purchase Index. The average 30-year mortgage rate fell 7 basis points to 3.98%.

Treasuries were higher, as the yield on the 2-year note was down 2 bps to 1.60%, the yield on the 10-year note decreased 4 bps to 1.82%, and the 30-year bond rate declined 5 bps to 2.30%.

Tomorrow’s economic calendar will also be light, offering weekly initial jobless claims, forecasted to have decreased 3,000 to 215,000, while in the final hour of trading, consumer credit will be released, with economists projecting that consumer borrowing shrank to $15.0 billion during September from the $17.9 billion posted in August.

Europe mixed as earnings and economic data pour in

European equities were mixed, as the markets continued to eye developments on the U.S.-China trade front, which has increased optimism regarding a potential “phase one” deal, and has boosted the global markets and helped push U.S. equities back into record high territory. Earnings and economic data was also in focus, with today’s disappointing U.S. productivity report countering some upbeat data on this side of the pond.

Eurozone retail sales unexpectedly ticked higher in September and the region’s services sector growth was revised to a slightly faster pace for last month. The euro dipped versus the U.S. dollar and the British pound was lower ahead of tomorrow’s monetary policy decision by the Bank of England. Bond yields in the region were mostly lower.

The U.K. FTSE 100 Index ticked 0.1% higher, France’s CAC-40 Index rose 0.3%, Germany’s DAX Index was up 0.2% and Switzerland’s Swiss Market Index gained 0.4%, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index was little changed and Spain’s IBEX 35 Index declined 0.1%.

Stocks in Asia finished mixed following the recent run in the global equity markets, which has seen U.S. stocks rally back to all-time highs, bolstered by optimism the U.S. and China look to be heading toward a “phase one” trade agreement. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index rose 0.2%, with gains likely limited by the yen regaining some of the recent drop that has come with the U.S. dollar’s recent rise and a report that showed the nation’s services sector output fell to a level depicting contraction for last month.

China’s Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.4% and the Hong Kong Hang Seng Index finished little changed, after the People’s Bank of China set the midpoint for the yuan at the strongest since August 8th.

Random Thoughts from the CIO

Month to date through November 5, the S&P 500 gained 1.2%, closing near the 3075 level.

Despite this strong start, history hints that investors may still be underestimating just how high the market could climb by year-end.

Like 28 other times since 1945, the S&P was up in both January and February of this year. Full-year total returns for these occasions averaged 24%, rising 100% of the time.

During the final two months of these years, the S&P 500 posted an average advance of almost 5%. However, whenever a new all-time high was recorded in November, as was the case this year, the average two-month return jumped to nearly 6.5%, recording a positive performance 11 of 11 times.

Market Insights 11/5/2019

Continued optimism surrounding the U.S.-China trade front helped the Dow and Nasdaq to add to their lists of record highs, courtesy of reports that the U.S. is considering scrapping plans to increase tariffs on China in December and potentially rolling back levies implemented in September.

Treasury yields and the U.S. dollar were higher, along with crude oil prices, while gold was sharply lower.

The Markets…

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 31 points (0.1%) to 27,493

The S&P 500 Index ticked 4 points (0.1%) lower to 3,075

The Nasdaq Composite inched 2 points higher to 8,435

In heavy volume, 984 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 2.2 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq

WTI crude oil gained $0.69 to $57.23 per barrel and wholesale gasoline was up $0.01 at $1.67 per gallon

The Bloomberg gold spot price tumbled $25.74 to $1,484.08 per ounce

The Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—gained 0.5% to 97.97

ISM services sector output rebounds from 3-year low, trade deficit narrows

The October Institute for Supply Management (ISM) non-Manufacturing Index rose to 54.7 from September’s 52.6, and versus the Bloomberg forecast of a slight increase to 53.5, with a reading above 50 denoting expansion. The index rebounded from the lowest level since August 2016 as new orders and business activity both improved to 55.6 and 57.0, respectively, and employment increased to 53.7, though growth in prices fell to 56.6. Non-manufacturing activity accounts for a large majority of U.S. economic output.

The final Markit U.S. Services PMI Index for October was revised lower to 50.6 from the preliminary estimate of 51.0, where it was forecasted to remain, and below September’s 50.9 level. A reading above 50 denotes expansion. The release is independent and differs from ISM’s report, as it has less historic value and Markit weights its index components differently, while its survey respondents include those that vary more in company size.

Treasuries were lower, as the yield on the 2-year note increased 3 basis points (bps) to 1.62%, the yield on the 10-year note rallied 8 bps to 1.86%, and the 30-year bond rate rose 6 bps to 2.33%.

The trade balance showed that the deficit narrowed by a slightly smaller amount than expected to $52.5 billion in September, compared estimates of $52.4 billion. August’s deficit was revised slightly higher to a $55.0 billion shortfall. Exports decreased 0.9% m/m to $205.9 billion, while imports fell 1.7% to $258.4 billion.

Europe mixed on data and continued improved trade sentiment, Asia higher

European equities finished mixed, with optimism regarding the U.S.-China trade front continuing to support sentiment. Concerns were further eased, as the likelihood of a “phase-one” agreement was bolstered by reports that the U.S. was mulling scrapping plans for a December increase in tariffs on Chinese goods and considering rolling back tariffs implemented in September. However, some mixed earnings reports in the region, along with divergent economic data, kept investors wary. U.K. services sector output unexpectedly improved to a level separating contraction from expansion for last month, but Spanish unemployment jumped more than anticipated for October.

The euro and British pound declined versus the U.S. dollar, while bond yields in the region were higher.

Stocks in Asia finished higher, with further signs that a “phase-one” trade deal between the U.S. and China could be in the offing continuing to buoy sentiment and helping the U.S. stock markets continue to notch all-time highs. Japanese equities jumped, in a return to action following yesterday’s holiday break, finding support from a drop in the yen and as Bank of Japan Governor Kuroda suggested fiscal stimulus was needed to bolster the impact of its accommodative monetary policy actions.

Stocks in mainland China and Hong Kong rose. Australian securities nudged higher, with the markets digesting the Reserve Bank of Australia’s monetary policy decision to leave its stance unchanged after a series of rate cuts this year.

Market Insights 11/4/2019

U.S. equities finished higher to start the week and notching new record highs amid continued optimism on the U.S.-China trade front, as well as eased concerns about Q3 earnings season.

Treasury yields and the U.S. dollar were higher amid a light economic calendar that showed factory orders declined more than expected, while crude oil prices rose and gold fell.

The Markets…

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 115 points (0.4%) to 27,462

The S&P 500 Index increased 11 points (0.4%) to 3,078

The Nasdaq Composite advanced 47 points (0.6%) to 8,433

In heavy volume, 949 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 2.1 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq

WTI crude oil added $0.34 to $56.54 per barrel and wholesale gasoline was unchanged at $1.66 per gallon

The Bloomberg gold spot price was $5.46 lower at $1,508.88 per ounce

The Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies— gained 0.3% to 97.54

Factory orders drop to kick off the economic calendar

Factory orders fell 0.6% month-over-month in September, versus the Bloomberg expectation of a 0.5% decline, and compared to August’s unrevised 0.1% dip. Stripping out the volatile transportation component, orders nudged 0.1% lower, versus August’s negatively-adjusted 0.2% decrease.

Treasuries were lower, as the yield on the 2-year note rose 2 basis points to 1.58%, while the yields on the 10-year note and the 30-year bond advanced 5 bps to 1.78% and 2.26%, respectively.

Tomorrow’s economic calendar will offer a look at the September trade balance, forecasted to show the deficit narrowed to $52.4 billion from the $54.9 billion posted in August. After the opening bell, the final October Markit U.S. Services PMI will be released, expected to remain at the preliminary figure of 51.0, but a tick higher than the 50.9 registered in September, followed shortly thereafter by the ISM Non-manufacturing Index, with economists projecting a reading of 53.5 for October, an increase over September’s 52.6 level.

Europe and Asia higher amid mixed manufacturing reports, earnings and trade optimism

European equities finished higher to start the week, as continued optimism of progress on the U.S.-China trade front helped to support sentiment, while the markets also digested a host of manufacturing reports and earnings releases. Manufacturing activity in the region was mixed in October, with Markit’s Eurozone Manufacturing PMI unexpectedly being revised higher, but remaining in contraction territory, though French output from the sector was revised to a higher pace of expansion than expected. German output was revised higher but continued to signal contraction, while Spanish and Italian activity in the sector were revised to higher paces of contraction.

Stocks in Asia finished higher amid lingering optimism of a “phase one” trade deal between the U.S. and China as officials from both nations issued upbeat commentary regarding progress following phone discussions late last week. However, volume was lighter than usual as markets in Japan were closed for a holiday.

Chinese equities and those traded in Hong Kong advanced, while South Korean securities also moved to the upside. Indian listings gained ground, and shares in Australia increased, with the trade optimism appearing to overshadow some concerns toward the banking sector.

Company and Earnings News

Dow member McDonald’s Corporation traded lower after the announcement that Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Steve Easterbrook has been separated from the company following the Board’s determination that he violated company policy involving a recent consensual relationship with an employee. MCD reported that Chris Kempczinski, most recently President of McDonald’s USA, has been named President and CEO, effective immediately. As well, the company announced that its Chief People Officer David Fairhurst has departed the company, effective immediately. Fairhurst was with MCD since 2005, but has only headed up its global human resources department since 2015.

Under Armour Inc. reported Q3 earnings-per-share of $0.23, above the $0.18 FactSet estimate, with revenues dipping 1.0% year-over-year to $1.4 billion, roughly in line with forecasts. The company said it expects full-year EPS to come in at the high-end of its prior guidance and lowered its revenue growth outlook. Separately, the company confirmed that it is cooperating with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Department of Justice regarding a probe into its accounting practices and that it believes its accounting practices and disclosure were appropriate.

Random Thoughts from the CIO

October is over, much to the delight of investors, mainly because it historically experienced 37% greater monthly price fluctuations than the average for the other 11 months since 1945.

November, on the other hand, recorded the third-highest average price increase, bested only by December and April. In addition, the market has risen in price nearly two out of every three Novembers and has recorded the greatest percentage of new all-time highs since WWII. We think that trend has a good chance of continuing.

Not surprisingly, the characteristically cyclical sectors, such as consumer discretionary, industrials and materials, outpaced the traditionally defensive groups, with energy, real estate and utilities being the usual laggards.

So what should be the drivers for this November? Seasonal optimism traditionally starts in this penultimate month of the year. Indeed, November typically kicks off a stretch of improving average total returns and frequencies of reporting positive performances for large, small, and international stocks, along with REITs and bonds.

Market Insights 11/1/2019

U.S. equities finished higher, with the S&P 500 Index notching another record, as stronger-than-expected October job growth helped push the markets higher.

Treasury yields were higher, but the U.S. dollar nudged lower, while crude oil prices gained solid ground and gold posted a modest gain.

The Markets…

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 301 points (1.1%) to 27,347

The S&P 500 Index increased 29 points (1.0%) to 3,067

The Nasdaq Composite advanced 94 points (1.1%) to 8,386

In moderate volume, 847 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 2.0 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq

WTI crude oil jumped $2.02 to $56.20 per barrel and wholesale gasoline was up $0.07 at $1.66 per gallon

The Bloomberg gold spot price was $0.40 higher at $1,513.39 per ounce

The Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies— fell 0.2% to 97.20

Markets were higher for the week, as the DJIA gained 1.4%, the S&P 500 Index advanced 1.5% and the Nasdaq Composite increased 1.7%

October job growth exceeds estimates

Non-farm payrolls grew by 128,000 jobs month-over-month in October, compared to the Bloomberg forecast of an 85,000 increase. The rise of 136,000 seen in September was revised to a gain of 180,000 jobs. Excluding government hiring and firing, private sector payrolls increased by 131,000, versus the forecasted gain of 80,000, after rising by 167,000 in September, revised from the 114,000 increase that was initially reported.

The unemployment rate ticked higher to 3.6% from September’s 3.5% rate, in line with forecasts, while average hourly earnings were up 0.2% m/m, below projections of a 0.3% increase, and versus September’s unrevised flat reading. Y/Y, wage gains were 3.0% higher, matching estimates and September’s upwardly-adjusted gain. Finally, average weekly hours remained at 34.4, matching estimates.

Treasuries were lower, as the yield on the 2-year note rose 4 basis points (bps) to 1.56%, while the yields and 10-year note and the 30-year bond gained 2 bps to 1.71% and 2.20%, respectively.

Europe higher following global data, Asia mixed

European equities finished higher, as the global markets appeared to get some support from today’s stronger-than-expected U.S. October job growth and favorable revisions of the prior month’s figures, which followed a relatively upbeat read on Chinese manufacturing activity. The euro and British pound nudged higher versus the U.S. dollar, while bond yields in the region gained ground.

Stocks in Asia finished mixed, with recently resurfaced U.S.-China trade uncertainty continuing to garner attention after reports suggested China was doubting a long-term comprehensive agreement, while some caution likely set in ahead of today’s key October employment data out of the U.S. Also, the markets digested a host of economic data in the region, with Hong Kong’s Q3 GDP growth falling more than expected and South Korea’s exports dropping more than anticipated for last month.

Stocks in Japan declined, with the yen holding onto yesterday’s rally. However, in the wake of the manufacturing data, mainland Chinese equities and those traded in Hong Kong advanced, and Australian securities ticked higher. Markets in both South Korea and India also gained ground.

Stocks rally for fourth-straight week, S&P 500 back to record high territory

U.S. stocks posted a fourth-straight week of gains, sending the S&P 500 Index back to all-time highs, with optimism of a “phase-one” U.S.-China trade deal lending support, Q3 earnings season continuing to come in better than feared and the Fed delivering a third rate cut of the year.

Meanwhile, the economic calendar was mixed but appeared to continue to stave off recession concerns. An unexpected decline in Consumer Confidence, a sharp drop in the Chicago PMI and Friday’s softer-than-expected ISM Manufacturing Index, was countered by a stronger-than-expected read on Q3 GDP and Friday’s October employment report that showed job growth remained solid.

Company and Earnings News

Exxon Mobil reported Q3 earnings-per-share of $0.75, including a $0.07 tax-related benefit, versus the $0.67 FactSet estimate, as revenues declined 15.1% year-over-year (y/y) to $65.1 billion, above the projected $60.9 billion.

Chevron reported Q3 EPS of $1.36, including a tax charge of $430 million, which may be making comparisons to the expected $1.49 unclear, with revenues falling 17.9% y/y to $36.1 billion, versus the expected $38.0 billion. Shares finished slightly higher.

Fitbit rallied after announcing an agreement to be acquired by Google, which is owned by parent company, Alphabet for $7.35 per share in cash, a total equity value of about $2.1 billion. G