Markets Wrap

Markets Wrap: The dollar declined as US manufacturing activity cooled

Fed officials reinforced tighter policy message on the weekend

US equities snapped a three-day rally as investors digested hawkish comments from Federal Reserve officials and data showing slower growth in the manufacturing sector. 

The S&P 500 fell on Monday after notching its best month since 2020. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 was little changed after rising as much as 1.1%. Both indexes struggled for direction throughout the session. US Treasuries rallied, with the 10-year yield declining to around 2.59%, the lowest since April. 

Market Wrap: Bitcoin Starts the Month in Negative Territory

After hinting at a possible pivot last week, Fed officials suggested that the central bank will need to raise rates further to bring inflation under control. A purchasing managers index of manufacturing was the latest data point to show that aggressive Fed tightening is starting to slow economic growth.

Stocks had roared in July on speculation the central bank was close to the end of its rate-hiking cycle on signs that runaway inflation may have peaked. Investors are now scrutinizing data, where any above-expectation reading could upend bets on a Fed pivot. At the same time, corporate earnings have largely shown that companies can deliver profit growth. 

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“July delivered a nice relief rally on a dovish interpretation of Fed comments and tech earnings that were not as dismal as expected, but it’s not surprising that we would see a retrenchment after that sort of performance,” said Dana D’Auria, co-CIO at Envestnet Inc. “We are still facing a rising rate environment and an economy that is probably technically in recession.”

Geopolitical tensions also kept markets on edge, with China again warning that its military would take action if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi makes a landmark visit to Taiwan. The offshore renminbi was down as much as 0.6% on the day in the wake of the report, while non-deliverable forwards on the Taiwanese dollar indicated a weakening of the island’s currency.

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Despite a 12.6% advance from a low on June 16, the S&P 500 could face an ugly stretch. Wall Street lore says October is the most dangerous month for the stock market, but August and September are worse, with the S&P 500 averaging declines of 0.6% and 0.7%, respectively, over the past 25 years.

While more than half of the S&P 500 companies that reported earnings so far have exceeded analyst estimates, the rate of earnings beats still trails the 62% average pace set in the last five quarters. And companies are worried about the economy, with executives and analysts on track to use phrases related to an economic slowdown three times more on second-quarter calls than they did during first-quarter results.

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“The Fed does not want to trigger a recession, but their first and much stronger priority is to get inflation under control. If that means driving risk assets lower, that is what they will do,” wrote Dennis DeBusschere, the founder of 22V Research.

Oil declined after poor Chinese economic data added to concerns that a global slowdown may sap demand. West Texas Intermediate dropped below $96 a barrel after sinking almost 7% in July in the first back-to-back monthly loss since late 2020.

The dollar fell. Bitcoin dropped after reaching the highest levels since mid-June on Saturday, fueled by optimism that the market may have recovered from its worst levels.

What to watch this week:

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Airbnb, Alibaba, and BP are among the earnings reports

Reserve Bank of Australia rate decision, Tuesday

US JOLTS job openings, Tuesday

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard are due to speak at separate events, Tuesday

OPEC+ meeting on output, Wednesday

US factory orders, durable goods, ISM services, Wednesday

BOE rate decision, Thursday

US initial jobless claims, trade, Thursday

Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester is due to speak, Thursday

US employment report for July, Friday

some of the main moves in markets:

Stocks

Futures on the S&P 500 fell 0.3% as of 4:34 p.m. New York time

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2%

The MSCI World index rose 1.2%

Stocks Defy Naysayers as Fed-Hike Premium Shrinks: Markets Wrap

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.3%

The euro rose 0.4% to $1.0258

The British pound rose 0.7% to $1.2254

The Japanese yen rose 1.2% to 131.62 per dollar

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined six basis points to 2.59%

Germany’s 10-year yield declined four basis points to 0.78%

Britain’s 10-year yield declined six basis points to 1.81%

Commodities

West Texas Intermediate crude fell 4.8% to $93.88 a barrel

Gold futures rose 0.4% to $1,788.60 an ounce

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