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Post by thelivyjr » Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:40 p


"S&P 500, Nasdaq finish at records for third straight session as consumer confidence hits 18-year high"

By Sue Chang and Mark DeCambre

Published: Aug 28, 2018 4:31 p.m. ET

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq on Tuesday finished at records for a third consecutive session after a measure of consumer confidence hit a nearly 18-year high, underscoring a continued expansion of the U.S. economy.

However, the market’s gains were muted, with indexes closing off of intraday peaks.

How did the main benchmarks fare?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 14.38 points to 26,064.02, coming within 2.1% of its record.

The S&P 500 index edged up 0.78 points to 2,897.52, and the Nasdaq Composite Index added 12.14 points, or 0.2%, to 8,030.04.

The moves follow a sharp rally Monday, with both the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq closing at records for a second straight session and the Dow exiting its longest stint in correction territory since 1961.

What drove the market?

Wall Street was buzzing after the Conference Board said its index of consumer confidence climbed to 133.4 this month from 127.9 in July.

That’s the strongest reading since October 2000 and topped the previous postrecession peak of 130 in February.

However, such bullish readings can prove a double-edged sword, pointing to growing optimism but also suggesting that a measure of complacency may be gripping Wall Street.

The gains came a day after investors cheered a new proposed trade deal between the U.S. and Mexico.

Concerns over trade policy have been a primary driver of market activity in both directions as investors fret that rising tensions between the U.S. and major trading partners — highlighted by the variety of tariffs the Trump administration has levied against China and the European Union and the resulting retaliatory moves — could become a full-blown trade war.

Stocks have largely muscled past these concerns, boosted by strong corporate profits and economic data, with any resolution of trade friction seen as easing the uncertainty surrounding the market’s outlook.

Despite the development with Mexico, trade will remain at the forefront of the stock market, as negotiations with China and other major partners are still to come. The most recent talks between Washington and Beijing resulted in no substantial progress.

A reading of June home prices showed growth slowing, while a measure of the trade gap in goods — services excluded — rose 6.3% to $72.2 billion from a revised $67.9 billion in June.

What were analysts saying?

Michael Pearce, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, noted that although the consumer-confidence index climbed to a nearly 18-year high, the fact that the expectations index, which rose to 107.6 in August from July’s 102.4, is rising more moderately in recent months suggests that economic growth and household spending could slow in the future.

Axel Christensen, chief investment strategist for Latin America BlackRock, called the Mexico announcement “a key milestone” for trade negotiations.

“Of course,” he added, “[Monday’s] news and an eventual agreement with Canada could face obstacles as they require the approval of each country’s legislature."

"As such, uncertainty risk — and the accompanying market volatility — are not yet completely ruled out.”

What stocks were in focus?

Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd. shares gained 2.2% after the company agreed to be bought by private-equity firm Apollo Funds in a deal valued at $2.6 billion.

Tiffany & Co. rose 1% after it reported second-quarter revenue that topped analyst forecasts, along with same-store sales growth that was stronger than expected.

Best Buy Co. Inc. shares skidded 5% after the electronics retailer reported adjusted second-quarter earnings and revenue that topped expectations.

It also gave a downbeat third-quarter earnings outlook.

BJ’s Wholesale Club Holdings Inc. shares were off 0.9% even after the company reported results that topped expectations.

It also raised its full-year outlook.

VMware Inc. extended losses to drop 1% after it said Monday that it plans to buy CloudHealth.

Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed, but Reuters reported that VMware would pay about $500 million.

DSW Inc. jumped 20% after it reported adjusted second-quarter earnings that exceeded expectations and revenue that was well above forecasts.

Affimed NV late Monday said it had entered into an agreement with Roche Holding’s Genentech to develop and commercialize immunotherapeutic treatments for multiple cancers.

Shares of Affimed skyrocketed 247%, while those for the U.S.-listed shares of Roche were up 0.2%.

What were other assets doing?

European stocks ended little changed, while Asian markets finished their session broadly higher.

Gold futures settled marginally lower, while the U.S. dollar index remained under pressure and U.S. oil futures weakened.

—Ryan Vlastelica contributed to this report ... ewer_click

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Post by thelivyjr » Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:40 p


"U.S. oil slips back after 2-session climb ahead of domestic inventory data"

By Myra P. Saefong and Mark DeCambre

Published: Aug 28, 2018 3:19 p.m. ET

U.S. oil futures pulled back on Tuesday after two sessions of consecutive gains, but losses were modest as traders fretted over signs of receding output and braced for the latest weekly U.S. crude inventory data.

“A series of factors such as a weaker dollar, investor confidence on the U.S.-Mexico trade deal and concerns over supply disruptions coming into light again, appear to be supporting these levels right now, before markets turn their focus to the weekly inventory reports due later today and [Wednesday],” said analysts at ICICI Bank in a daily note.

West Texas Intermediate crude for October delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange shed 34 cents, or 0.5%, to settle at $68.53 a barrel, a day after notching the highest finish for a front-month contract since Aug. 7, FactSet data show.

Global benchmark October Brent crude lost 26 cents, or 0.3%, to $75.95 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

It finished Monday at the highest for a front-month contract since July 10, and continues to trade well above the U.S. benchmark price.

Renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran and supply disruptions in Libya and Venezuela have supported oil prices lately, amid data showing growing output from major producers such as Saudi Arabia (a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and non-OPEC producer Russia.

U.S. sanctions on oil exports go into effect in November, with investors estimating more than 1 million barrels daily being taken off line.

However, some market participants estimate that Saudi Arabia, the world’s swing producer and de facto leader of OPEC, could offset any Iranian shortfalls, which would push prices higher, said Greg Sharenow, portfolio manager at Pimco.

“I believe that Saudi [Arabia] will adjust output and exports to meet client needs."

"They won’t force oil onto markets, nor will they decline client demands,” he said in a recent note.

On Monday, a conference call hosted by the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee of OPEC and non-OPEC countries indicated that nations participating in the production-cut pact implemented at the start of 2017 had reduced production by 9% more than required in July, according to report from Reuters.

That meant compliance was at 109%, down from 121% in June and 147% in May.

Uncertainty about supply-demand factors has whipped prices around, but the trend has mostly been tilted upward lately.

U.S. oil futures have been up seven of the past nine sessions, based on the October contract.

Looking ahead, market participants await data late Tuesday on U.S. inventories from the American Petroleum Institute after it showed that U.S. supplies fell by a greater-than-expected 5.2 million barrels for the week ended Aug. 17, setting the stage for last week’s crude rally.

A more closely watched U.S. Energy Information Administration report is due Wednesday.

Last week, that report helped to confirm the sharp API inventory decline.

Some industry experts are predicting inventory reductions to persist, albeit at more moderate levels.

On average, analysts polled by S&P Global Platts expect to see a decline of 1 million barrels in domestic crude supplies for the week ended Aug. 24.

They also forecast a fall of 160,000 barrels in gasoline stockpiles, but looked for a climb of 1.7 million barrels in distillates, which include heating oil.

Meanwhile, some slack in the U.S. dollar offered support to oil futures, with the popular ICE U.S. Dollar Index off 0.1%, contributing to a 0.5% decline week to date.

A softening dollar can make commodities priced in the unit comparatively more attractive to buyers using other currencies.

On Nymex Tuesday, September gasoline fell 0.5% to $2.079 a gallon, while September heating oil shed 0.2% to $2.211 a gallon.

The September contracts for the oil products expire at Friday’s settlement.

In other energy trading, September natural gas lost 0.8% to $2.852 per million British thermal units, with the contract due to expire at Wednesday’s settlement. ... 2018-08-28

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Post by thelivyjr » Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:40 p


"10-year, 30-year U.S. government debt yields hit 2-week high"

By Sunny Oh

Published: Aug 28, 2018 3:49 p.m. ET

Treasurys came under pressure, pushing long-dated yields to two-week peaks, on Tuesday amid reports that Germany was contemplating extending financial aid to Turkey, which is in the throes of currency crisis.

Ebbing trade concerns also helped to soften demand for U.S. government paper after President Donald Trump’s progress on a trade deal with Mexico.

The 10-year Treasury note yield rose 3.6 basis points to 2.880%, while the 30-year bond rate advanced 3.7 basis points to 3.033%.

Both long-dated maturities were at their highest since Aug. 14.

The 2-year note yield was up by 2 basis points to 2.665%, its highest since Aug. 8, according to Dow Jones Market Data Group.

Bond prices move in the opposite direction of yields.

The Wall Street Journal reported that German policy makers were worried about knock-on effects from deterioration in Turkey’s economy, which could potentially ripple though the eurozone’s banking system.

Germany is the most influential and largest economy within the eurozone.

The WSJ report indicated that German officials are in discussions with Turkish counterparts over the form any assistance might take, but discussions are in the very early stages, and the article cautioned that they may ultimately fall apart.

After the report’s release, a government official told Reuters that Germany wouldn’t offer direct financial aid, and was considering alternatives.

Treasurys have drawn interest, capping expected yield gains from a Federal Reserve that has been steadily normalizing U.S. monetary policy.

Demand for the perceived safety of Treasurys in that environment has held debt prices higher and yields lower, market participants said.

Signs that Turkey’s crisis could be resolved could erode appetite for haven assets like Treasurys, and give long-dated yields the room to run higher.

Trade tensions also came into focus after President Donald Trump announced a preliminary trade agreement between the U.S. and Mexico.

But analysts say it’s unclear whether Canada will join the deal, a sticking point for Congress, which is more likely to ratify a trilateral trade agreement, not a bilateral one.

“The 2-10 curve could become vulnerable to steepening if Canada joins U.S.-Mexico agreement to confirm a new less negative trade scenario,” wrote Arnim Holzer, portfolio manager at EAB Investment Group.

Trade-war fears have pushed investors into U.S. government paper, capping debt yields and flattening the yield curve.

A climb in the benchmark 10-year note yield would help reverse that trend by widening the spread between the 2-year note and the 10-year note, a common gauge of the yield curve’s slope.

The trade deficit widened by more than $4 billion to $72.2 billion in July, weighing on third-quarter GDP estimates.

That was offset by a jump in July’s wholesale inventories numbers by 0.7%.

Consumer confidence climbed to 133.4 in August, an 18-year high, from 127.9 in the previous month.

“We’re going to see this growth momentum pick up, with the growth in employment and the rise in wages, and consumer confidence continuing to go strong."

"The general level of economic activity is going to move in the positive direction,” said Jim Sarni, a portfolio manager at Payden & Rygel.

Traders also digested an auction of $37 billion of 5-year notes, said analysts.

So far, a ramp-up in debt supply by the Treasury Department, thanks to the fiscal stimulus measures introduced at the year’s start, have struggled to push up yields.

The 5-year note yield was up 2.7 basis points to 2.772%. ... ewer_click

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Post by thelivyjr » Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:40 p


"Another inflation gauge is set to enter the red zone, but no worries at the Fed. Here’s why"

By Jeffry Bartash

Published: Aug 26, 2018 8:22 a.m. ET

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell is watching inflation closely, but the former Wall Street risk manager says gradually rising inflation is not sufficient cause to raise U.S. interest rates.

Yet another key measure of U.S. inflation could soon hit the highest level in six years, but don’t expect the head honcho at the Federal Reserve to get uptight.

A barometer of inflation that strips out food and energy is likely to reach 2% for the first time since 2012.

Known as core PCE, it’s one of the two inflation gauges the Fed follows the closest and plays a big role in determining when the central bank raises the cost of borrowing.

The headline PCE number, which includes food and energy, breached 2% in the early spring and is already at the highest level in six years.

These inflation figures are included in the monthly report on consumer spending that will be issued Thursday.

Rising inflation used to make Fed bigwigs quiver in their boots and move fast to pour cold water on the economy through higher interest rates.

That’s no longer the case, though.

Starting in the early 1990s and continuing through the slow economic recovery of the past decade, the Fed has been more willing to keep interest rates low.

Automation, the Internet, cheap Chinese labor and other factors have worked to produce a remarkable era of weak inflation both in the U.S. and abroad.

Inflation in the U.S. has topped 4% only once since 1991, and just briefly, in 2008 when the economy was plunging into the worst downturn since the Great Depression three-quarters of a century earlier.

For the most part it’s hovered between 2% and 3% and as recently as three years ago inflation was effectively zero.

In a major speech last week, Powell suggested that changes in the level of inflation were no longer as useful in helping the Fed to decide when to raise interest rates.

He argued the Fed needs to adopt a more sophisticated “risk management” strategy that looks “beyond inflation for signs of excesses” in the economy.

Signs of excesses aren’t all that obvious — partly why the yield on the 10-year Treasury note is surprisingly still stuck below 3%.

Stock indexes such as the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are even pushing back into record territory.

Consider the ultra-tight labor market.

The unemployment rate keeps falling and now sits at a nearly 20-year low of 3.9%, but worker pay is still rising less than 3% a year.

And while companies say they have to pay more for raw materials and transportation costs owing to tariffs and other shortages, they’ve had trouble passing on price increases to customers reluctant to pay them.

Inflation as measured by the PCE would likely have to move rapidly toward 2.5% or 3% to force the Fed to cast aside Powell’s gradualist approach to raising interest rates.

Even then, Powell insists, it would have to be clear to the Fed that shifting inflation is not merely a temporary phenomenon.

For all his avowed “caution,” though, Powell is on board for at least several more increases in the Fed’s benchmark short-term interest rate.

The central bank appears locked in on a rate hike at its next big meeting in late September.

The so-called fed funds rate is slated to rise to a range of 2% to 2.25% from its current 1.75% to 2% target.

Eventually the Fed expects to end up around 3%.

Still, the Fed is moving more at a turtle’s pace than that of a hare.

No worries there.

“The speech was largely a spirited defense of the Fed’s slow-but-oh-so-steady rate hikes,” said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets. ... 2018-08-26

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Post by thelivyjr » Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:40 p



"Americans haven’t been this confident in the economy since 1990s Internet boom"

By Jeffry Bartash

Published: Aug 28, 2018 10:25 a.m. ET

The numbers:

Consumer confidence in the United States soared in August to an 18-year high and hit seldom-reached peaks, reflecting surging growth in the economy and the lowest unemployment rate in almost two decades.

The consumer confidence index jumped to 133.4 from a revised 127.9 in July, the Conference Board said Tuesday.

How good is that?

It’s the highest level since October 2000 and beats the previous postrecession peak of 130 in February.

The only other period in which consumer confidence was higher was during the Internet-fueled boom of 1997 to 2000, based on official monthly readings that go back to 1977.

The index was also higher in the mid-1960s, but the survey was only conducted every two months for the first decade of its existence.

What happened:

The present situation index, a measure of current conditions, climbed to 172.2 from 166.1.

That’s also the highest level since 2000.

The future expectations index advanced to 107.6 from 102.4

Big picture:

Americans have rarely felt this good about the economy.

Millions of people have found work, layoffs have fallen to levels last seen in the late 1960s, incomes are rising and businesses are investing.

The U.S. economy expanded at a lusty 4.1% annual clip in the second quarter.

What they are saying?

“Overall, these historically high confidence levels should continue to support healthy consumer spending in the near-term,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at board.

Market reaction:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both rose in Tuesday trades, with the S&P hitting another record.

The stock market has surged after President Trump announced a pending new free-trade deal with Mexico.

The 10-year Treasury yield rose to 2.88% to extend a recent upswing.

Bond yields had climbed to as high 3% earlier this year before retreating. ... 2018-08-28

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Post by thelivyjr » Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:40 p





"Kudlow says White House ‘taking a look’ at regulating Google searches"

By Robert Schroeder

Published: Aug 28, 2018 4:09 p.m. ET

Larry Kudlow, President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, said Tuesday the administration is “taking a look” at whether Google searches should be regulated, hours after Trump complained on Twitter about search results.

In a pair of morning tweets, the president said Alphabet Inc.’s Google search results for “Trump News” showed only “the viewing/reporting of Fake News Media.”

The origin of the president’s complaints appears to be an article from the right-wing blog PJ Media headlined “96 Percent of Google Search Results for ‘Trump’ News Are from Liberal Media Outlets.”

Google spokesperson Riva Sciuto said “search is not used to set a political agenda and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology.”

In his tweets, Trump said “Illegal?” and wrote that the company is “controlling what we can & cannot see."

"This is a very serious situation—will be addressed!”

Neither Trump nor Kudlow gave specifics of how the administration would address the issue.

The White House did not immediately respond to request for comment.

“We’ll let you know,” Kudlow said in a brief appearance outside the White House.

“When Google returns search hits that you don’t like, that doesn’t make it illegal,” Professor Ari Waldman of New York Law School told MarketWatch.

Google’s Sciuto said, “every year, we issue hundreds of improvements to our algorithms to ensure they surface high-quality content in response to users’ queries."

"We continually work to improve Google Search and we never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment.” ... ewer_click

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Post by thelivyjr » Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:40 p


"Long-dated government bonds snap 3-session skid, pushing yields lower"

By Sunny Oh

Published: Aug 29, 2018 4:19 p.m. ET

Long-dated U.S. government debt prices rose and yields slipped on Wednesday, as an auction for 7-year paper saw healthy bidding, underscoring demand for Treasurys with longer maturities despite an extended rally in stocks.

The 10-year Treasury note yield edged 0.2 basis point lower to 2.882%, with the 30-year bond rate falling by 1.4 basis points at 3.019%, according to Dow Jones Market Data.

Meanwhile, the 2-year note yield was up by 1.2 basis points to 2.677%.

Bond prices move in the opposite direction of yields.

Some $31 billion of seven-year notes were auctioned at a yield of 2.844%, below the 2.930% yield at an early auction of comparable notes.

The sale was viewed as strong by market participants and follows a $37 billion sale of five-year notes on Tuesday and a $36 billion auction of two-year notes on Monday.

The 7-year notes traded up a basis point to 2.847%, according to FactSet data.

Prices for government paper can fall after a bond auction as investors make way for the increase in supply.

But concerns over a deluge of bond supply from the recent fiscal stimulus measures have abated as domestic investors took down the bulge in issuance with few hiccups.

Moreover, investors say higher yields in the U.S. than elsewhere will continue to attract foreign buyers, even though foreign holdings of Treasurys remained stable in the past few years.

They point out comparable risk-free bonds like German government debt have seen their yields drop as major central banks continue to carry out their bond-buying operations.

“So long as the 10-year Treasury-note yield can command a 240 basis point premium over German bunds, there will be no shortage of global buyers, even with gaping fiscal deficits,” wrote David Rosenberg, chief financial economist for Gluskin Sheff.

The German 10-year bond yield traded at 0.403% on Monday.

Treasury moves come as the S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite notched their fourth straight all-time high in succession, with appetite for assets perceived as risky, like stocks, resurgent—for now.

Analysts also suggest month-end buying could ensure bond prices remain well-supported, keeping yield anchored, as money managers scoop up government paper to maintain the average maturity of their portfolios before Friday.

When debt rolls off a bond-fund portfolio, the average maturity will fall, drifting away from the maturity of their competing benchmark index.

On the data front, the second-quarter reading of gross domestic product came in at 4.2%, affirming the stellar economic growth seen in recent months.

Pending home sales for July fell 0.7%, after a 1% increase in June.

The Italian bond market rallied after the newspaper La Stampa reported that Italy may ask the European Central Bank to extend its signature quantitative easing program, which is set to end in December 2018.

Italy’s deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, subsequently said the government hadn’t asked the ECB to buy its bonds should the 2019 spending plan spook investors, Reuters reported.

The 10-year Italian government bond yield fell to 3.132% from an intraday peak of 3.200%, according to Tradeweb data.

—Mark DeCambre contributed to this article ... ewer_click

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Post by thelivyjr » Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:40 p


"Oil tallies highest finish of the month as U.S. crude supplies fall more than expected"

By Myra P. Saefong and Mark DeCambre

Published: Aug 29, 2018 3:16 p.m. ET

Oil prices climbed Wednesday to score their highest finish of the month, after a U.S. government report showed that domestic crude supplies fell more than expected last week.

October West Texas Intermediate crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the U.S. oil benchmark, tacked on 98 cents, or 1.4%, to settle at $69.51 a barrel.

The global benchmark October Brent crude settled $1.19, or 1.6%, higher at $77.14 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

Both contracts marked their highest settlements this month to date, according to FactSet data.

The Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday that domestic crude supplies declined by 2.6 million barrels for the week ended Aug. 24.

Analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts had forecast a fall of 1 million barrels, while the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday reported a modest rise of 38,000 barrels, according to sources.

The “crude numbers ... definitely have a slight bullish tilt to them,” said Tariq Zahir, managing member at Tyche Capital Advisors, adding that the report also revealed a bigger draw than expected in gasoline.

He warned, however, that a supply build at the U.S. trading hub at Cushing, Okla., as well as the upcoming refinery maintenance season and the U.S. driving season coming to a close all stand have to potential to pressure oil prices.

Gasoline stockpiles fell 1.6 million barrels for the week, while distillate stockpiles shed 800,000 barrels, according to the EIA.

The S&P Global Platts survey forecast a supply decrease of 160,000 barrels for gasoline, along with a climb of 1.7 million barrels for distillate stocks.

On Nymex, September gasoline climbed 2.7 cents, or 1.3%, to $2.106 a gallon, while September heating oil added 3.1 cents, or 1.4%, to $2.242 a gallon.

The September contracts for the products expire at Friday’s settlement.

The weaker tone for WTI oil overnight in electronic trading was attributed in part to reports late Tuesday that embattled Venezuela’s state-run oil firm signed a potential major investment agreement valued at $430 million to increase production by 640,000 barrels a day.

Reuters reported that Venezuelan state-run oil firm PDVSA signed the investment agreement to increase production at 14 oil fields.

However, some industry participants were skeptical that the investment would go through, given the country’s economic woes, according to the report, which didn’t specify the origin of the investment in PDVSA.

U.S. sanctions on Iran and supply disruptions in Libya and Venezuela have supported oil prices lately, amid data showing growing output from major producers such as Saudi Arabia (a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and non-OPEC producer Russia.

U.S. sanctions on oil exports go into effect in November, with investors estimating more than 1 million barrels a day will be taken off line.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that oil exports from Iran are already declining even before crude sanctions officially kick in Nov. 4.

The report, citing people familiar with the situation, said an unexpected drop in oil shipments could pose a supply risk for global markets, with the state-run National Iranian Oil Co. provisionally expecting crude shipments next month to drop to about 1.5 million barrels a day, down from about 2.3 million barrels a day in June.

President Donald Trump’s decision in May to pull the U.S. out of a 2015 international agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program set the stage for the reimposition of economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Rounding out trading on Nymex, September natural gas rose 1.5% to $2.895 per million British thermal units, with the contract expiring at the settlement.

The most-active October contract settled up 0.6% at $2.863.

—Christopher Alessi contributed to this article ... 2018-08-29

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Post by thelivyjr » Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:40 p


"Home-price growth slows again, Case-Shiller says"

By Andrea Riquier

Published: Aug 29, 2018 8:12 a.m. ET

The numbers:

The S&P/Case-Shiller national index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.3% and was up 6.2% for the year in June.

The 20-city index rose a seasonally adjusted 0.1% and was up 6.3% compared with a year ago.

What happened:

Economists and housing watchers have said for years that prices couldn’t continue growing as fast as they were.

The market finally got the message.

For now, price-growth is decelerating, prices are not declining: the national index’s 6.2% annual gain was down from 6.4% in the three-month period ending in May.

The 20-city’s annual gain was also down two ticks, from 6.5%.

That’s still double the rate of inflation and wage gains, but it’s a step in the right direction for bringing the market back in reach of more buyers.

Big picture:

The West is still the best, and Las Vegas is the one to beat.

After years of Seattle charting the strongest price growth, Vegas led the way in June, followed by Seattle and San Francisco.

New York, which has been slammed by recent tax-law changes, was the only metro to chart a monthly decline.

But its 3.8% annual gain wasn’t the lowest: Washington, D.C., prices rose only 2.9% for the year.

Six of the 20 cities had greater price increases in the year ending in June versus May. ... 2018-08-28

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Post by thelivyjr » Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:40 p


"U.S. trade deficit widens in July to highest in five months"

By Greg Robb

Published: Aug 28, 2018 10:11 a.m. ET

The numbers:

An early look at trade patterns in July showed a widening in the nation’s trade deficit to the highest level in five months, perhaps a sign that growth will slow down a little in the third quarter from the torrid pace in the April-June period.

The trade gap in goods — services are excluded — rose 6.3% to $72.2 billion from a revised $67.9 billion in June, the government said Tuesday.

That’s the highest rate since February.

Economists were looking for the deficit to widen somewhat less, to $69.4 billion.

The government will release overall trade numbers next week, but the size of the deficit is tied to changes in exports and imports of goods.

Services don’t change much month to month.

An advanced look at wholesale inventories estimated a 0.7% increase in July.

And an early look at retail inventories estimated a 0.4% increase.

What happened:

There were widespread reductions in exports in July, which fell for the second month in a row.

Exports of capital goods and consumer goods help pace the month’s losses.

At the same time, the gains in imports were across the board, with the only monthly drop for consumer goods.

The big picture:

For all of President Trump’s focus on the trade deficit, it remains on a steadily widening trajectory.

The trade gap is about 7% wider year-to-date compared with the corresponding period in 2017, said Oren Klachkin, economist at Oxford Economics.

A strong U.S. economy is drawing in imports.

On the other hand, the global economy has softened after a strong start in the year.

Exports are also being held down by the rising dollar.

The U.S.-Mexico agreement reached Monday has led to hopes that the various ongoing trade disputes with China and others would devolve into trade wars.

What they are saying:

The decline in exports could also be some retaliation on U.S. goods from the Trump administration’s tough global trade negotiation stance, said Robert Brusca, chief economist at FAO Economics.

Market reaction:

Stocks were set to open higher a day after the U.S. and Mexico announced their deal.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose in early trading. ... 2018-08-28

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