Stock Market Update from Briefing.com

Briefing.com

4:10 pm: [BRIEFING.COM] The stock market began the last week of July on a quiet note with the S&P 500 ending less than a point above its flat line. Like the benchmark index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) also posted a slim gain, while the Russell 2000 (-0.5%) and Nasdaq Composite (-0.1%) lagged throughout the session.

The major averages were awakened from their weekend slumber with an opening retreat that pressured the S&P 500 below its 20-day moving average (1975). Even though the index dipped early, only two sectors-consumer staples (-0.5%) and industrials (-0.5%)-displayed noteworthy weakness that persisted into the close.

Meanwhile, most of the remaining sectors kept pace with the broader market and climbed to highs as the afternoon wore on. The consumer discretionary sector (+0.2%) was an early laggard, but ended among the leaders with help from the likes of Netflix (NFLX 424.66, +2.80) and Priceline.com (PCLN 1239.29, +11.51). Furthermore, the sector drew strength from the retail industry, where Family Dollar (FDO 75.74, +15.08) agreed to be acquired by Dollar Tree (DLTR 54.87, +0.65) for $74.50/share, representing a 22.8% premium to Friday's closing price.

M&A activity was also the focus in another influential sector-technology (+0.2%)-with Zillow (Z 160.32, +1.46) acquiring Trulia (TRLA 65.04, +8.69) for $3.50 billion in stock, which represents roughly a 25.3% premium to Friday's closing price.

Elsewhere among tech shares, the largest sector component-Apple (AAPL 99.02, +1.35)-rallied 1.4%, but high-beta chipmakers were not nearly as fortunate. The PHLX Semiconductor Index shed 0.1% after being down as much as 1.3% during the opening hour of action.

Similar to chipmakers, biotech stocks struggled throughout the session, and while their underperformance weighed on the Nasdaq Composite, it had little impact on the health care sector. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 251.91, -2.15) lost 0.9%, while the health care sector tacked on 0.1%.

Like health care, countercyclical telecom services (+0.5%) and utilities (+1.5%) also finished in the green. Notably, the utilities sector climbed throughout the session to extend its year-to-date advance to 13.3%.

On the fixed income side, the 10-yr note made a brief appearance in the green when equities were on their lows, before sliding to a fresh low ahead of the close. The benchmark note shed four ticks with its yield climbing two basis points to 2.48%.

Participation was below average with less than 580 million shares changing hands at the NYSE.

Economic data was limited to the Pending Home Sales report for June:

  • Pending home sales fell 1.1% in June, which was worse than the 0.8% decrease forecast by the Briefing.com consensus 
    • The May reading was revised down to 6.0% from 6.1% 
Tomorrow, the Case-Shiller 20-City Index for May (Briefing.com consensus 10.0%) will be released at 9:00 ET, while July Consumer Confidence (consensus 85.6) will cross the wires at 10:00 ET. On the earnings front, BP (BP 50.64, -0.28), Honda Motor (HMC 35.18, +0.19), Pfizer (PFE 30.10, -0.09), and UPS (UPS 102.66, -0.91) will report their results ahead of the opening bell.
  • S&P 500 +7.1% YTD 
  • Nasdaq Composite +6.4% YTD 
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average +2.5% YTD 
  • Russell 2000 -2.1% YTD

3:30 pm: [BRIEFING.COM]

  • Aug gold chopped around near the unchanged level today in a tight range between $1301.80 per ounce and $1305.80 per ounce. Unable to gain momentum, it settled just 20 cents higher at $1303.20 per ounce. 
  • Sep silver slipped into negative territory in afternoon action after trading as high as $20.73 per ounce earlier in the session. It touched a session low of $20.55 per ounce and settled with a 0.3% loss at $20.57 per ounce.
  • Sep crude oil came off its session low of $100.82 per barrel in morning action and trended higher to a session high of $102.12 per barrel. However, it lost momentum heading into the close and settled with a 0.4% loss at $101.68 per barrel.
  • Aug natural gas rose to a session high of $3.85 per MMBtu but reversed into the red in late morning floor trade. It brushed a session low of $3.73 per MMBtu and eventually settled at $3.75 per MMBtu, or 0.8% lower.

2:55 pm: [BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 remains near its flat line with one hour left in the trading day. This morning was relatively quiet with respect to quarterly earnings, but participants will have to deal with another heavy dose of reports as the week progresses.

Following today's closing bell, industrial names Jacobs (JEC 53.70, -0.29), Owens & Minor (OMI 34.94, +0.50), and Masco (MAS 20.27, -0.63) will headline the list of reporting companies, while tomorrow morning the attention will shift to the likes of Archer-Daniels (ADM 48.08, -0.04), BP (BP 50.67, -0.25), Honda Motor (HMC 35.19, +0.20), and Pfizer (PFE 30.10, -0.09).

2:30 pm: [BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 (+0.1%) hovers right above its flat line with seven sectors sporting gains.

Market participants received just one economic data point today (June Pending Home Sales -1.1%), but the rest of the week will bring a full slate of data. Tomorrow, the Case-Shiller 20-city Index (Briefing.com consensus 10.0%) will be released at 9:00 ET, while the July Consumer Confidence report (consensus 85.6) will cross the wires at 10:00 ET.

As the week progresses, Wednesday will bring the advance reading of Q2 GDP (consensus 3.2%) as well as the latest policy decision from the Federal Open Market Committee.

Finally, on Friday, investors will receive the latest Nonfarm Payrolls report, which is expected to indicate the addition of 220,000 payrolls in July.

2:00 pm: [BRIEFING.COM] Recent action saw the Dow (+0.2%), Nasdaq (+0.1%), and S&P 500 (+0.1%) climb into the green, while the Russell 2000 (-0.2%) remains in the red.

Thanks to the rebound, eight sectors now trade in the green with the utilities space (+1.2%) maintaining the lead. Outside of utilities, influential groups like consumer discretionary (+0.3%) and technology (+0.3%) trade ahead of the broader market despite showing relative weakness just an hour ago.

On the downside, consumer staples (-0.4%) and industrials (-0.4%) remain in the red. Transports continue weighing on the industrial space as the Dow Jones Transportation Average holds a loss of 1.0%.

1:30 pm: [BRIEFING.COM] The major indices are little changed for the day, yet the current standing belies an otherwise resilient market as the Dow, Nasdaq, and S&P 500 are all well off the lows seen earlier in the session.

A recovery effort by the technology sector (+0.2%) has aided the rebound action.  In general, though, most sectors have moved up from earlier levels.

The best-performing sector today (both earlier and at the moment) is the utilities sector (+1.1%).  A continued slide in natural gas prices and some defensive positioning have afforded the sector a measure of relative strength.

Separately, a report just out on CNBC TV indicates the US will adopt additional sanctions against Russia and that it also expects European sanctions.  There hasn't been any knee-jerk selling interest in response to those headlines.

1:00 pm: [BRIEFING.COM] The major averages hold midday losses with the Russell 2000 (-0.8%) leading the retreat. Similar to the Russell 2000, the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) trails the S&P 500 (-0.2%).

Outside of the Russell 2000, equity indices have been relatively quiet through the first half of the action with many participants showing caution ahead of a busy week of economic data. Wednesday will feature the advance GDP reading for Q2 (Briefing.com consensus 3.2%) and the FOMC policy decision, while the July jobs report will be released on Friday (Briefing.com consensus 220K).

Today, however, the early focus was on M&A activity with Family Dollar (FDO 75.23, +14.57) agreeing to be acquired by Dollar Tree (DLTR 55.67, +1.45) for $74.50/share, which represents a 22.8% premium to Friday's closing price. Despite the news, the consumer discretionary sector (-0.1%) hovers in the red, but is trading just ahead of the broader market.

Elsewhere, the top-weighted S&P 500 group-technology (-0.1%)-trades in line with the discretionary space. Influential sector components like Apple (AAPL 98.39, +0.72) and IBM (IBM 195.13, +0.73) have shown some relative strength, but high-beta chipmakers weigh. The PHLX Semiconductor Index holds a loss of 0.4% with 18 of its 30 components in the red.

Also of note, Trulia (TRLA 64.75, +8.40) has jumped 15.0% after accepting Zillow's (Z 158.95, +0.09) $3.50 billion takeover offer.

While most of the declining sectors display losses comparable to the broader market, consumer staples (-0.5%) and industrials (-0.8%) lag. The industrial sector has suffered from weakness among transport stocks as the Dow Jones Transportation Average trades lower by 1.3%. Kansas City Southern (KSU 111.33, -2.92) is the weakest performer, down 2.6%, while Alaska Air (ALK 45.97, +0.20) and Delta Air Lines (DAL 38.25, +0.19) are the only two pockets of relative strength.

Treasuries hover near their early lows with the 10-yr yield up two basis points at 2.49%.

Economic data was limited to the Pending Home Sales report for June:

  • Pending home sales fell 1.1% in June, which was worse than the 0.8% decrease forecast by the Briefing.com consensus 
    • The May reading was revised down to 6.0% from 6.1%

12:30 pm: [BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices hover near their rebound highs with the S&P 500 lower by five points.

The first half of today's session has lacked any concerted sector leadership, which is still the case at this juncture. Materials (+0.02%), telecom services (+0.4%), and utilities (+1.1%) hover in the green, but the three sectors account for less than 10.0% of the entire market.

Elsewhere, consumer staples (-0.5%) and industrials (-0.9%) trail the broader market, while the remaining five sectors display losses comparable to the S&P 500.

Treasuries, meanwhile, have returned into the neighborhood of their overnight lows. The 10-yr note is now lower by six ticks with its yield up two basis points at 2.49%.

12:00 pm: [BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 has narrowed its loss to 0.2% in a move that saw most sectors inch up from their recent levels. However, consumer staples (-0.5%) and industrials (-0.8%) remain near their session lows.

Meanwhile, the materials sector (+0.2%) has returned into positive territory, while other cyclical groups have yet to erase their losses. Notably, the largest S&P 500 sector-technology-has returned to its flat line even as chipmakers continue showing relative weakness (PHLX Semiconductor Index -0.5%).

With stocks remaining in the red, participants have shown some demand for volatility protection, which has pushed the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX 12.95, +0.26) near the 13.00% mark.

11:25 am: [BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 trades lower by 0.3%, while small-cap stocks are having some difficulty keeping pace as evidenced by a 0.8% decline in the Russell 2000. Similarly, the Nasdaq Composite (-0.5%) also trails the broader market.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq underperforms amid weakness in high-growth areas like biotechnology and chipmakers. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 251.72, -2.34) holds a loss of 0.9%, while the broader health care sector (-0.2%) has been able to resist some of the selling pressure.

Elsewhere, the PHLX Semiconductor Index is lower by 0.6% with 21 of its 30 components trading in the red. Micron (MU 32.48, -0.94) is the weakest performer, down 2.8%.

10:55 am: [BRIEFING.COM] Equity indices remain in negative territory with the S&P 500 trading lower by 0.4%. Eight sectors find themselves in the red at this time, while the countercyclical telecom services (+0.1%) and utilities (+1.2%) have bucked the trend.

On the flip side, the industrial sector (-0.9%) remains at the bottom of the leaderboard after slipping out of the gate. The top sector component-General Electric (GE 25.52, -0.27)-sports a loss of 1.1%, while transport stocks also lag noticeably. The Dow Jones Transportation Average has given up 1.2% as 11 of its 30 components hold losses of 1.0% or more. Air carrier JetBlue (JBLU 11.14, -0.27) is the weakest performer, down 2.4%.

Elsewhere, Treasuries have not moved much during the first 90 minutes of the action. The 10-yr yield is pegged at 2.48%.

10:35 am: [BRIEFING.COM]

  • Commodities are mixed this morning, while the dollar index is flat
  • Sept crude oil has been in the red all morning and hit a new LoD near $101/barrel a short while ago. Sept crude oil is currently -0.8% at $101.25/barrel.
  • Aug natural gas futures rallied to a new HoD of $3.85/MMBtu. The energy component it holding those gains and is now +1.4% at $3.83/MMBtu
  • Precious metals are rather consolidated this morning. Aug gold is currently +0.1% at $1304.20/oz, while Sept silver is +0.2% at $20.67/oz
  • Sept copper erased some gains this morning and is now +0.2% at $3.25/lb

10:00 am: [BRIEFING.COM] The S&P 500 trades lower by 0.4%.

Just reported, pending home sales for June fell 1.1%, which was worse than the 0.8% decrease forecast by the Briefing.com consensus. Today's reading followed last month's revised increase of 6.0% (from 6.1%).

9:45 am: [BRIEFING.COM] The major averages began the day in the neighborhood of their flat lines. The S&P 500 hovers right below its unchanged level with seven sectors showing losses. Of the seven, the industrial space (-0.7%) is the weakest performer with its top component-General Electric (GE 25.46, -0.33)-trading lower by 1.3%.

On the upside, materials (+0.3%) and countercyclical telecom services (+0.2%) and utilities (+0.2%) hold slim gains.

Treasuries remain slightly lower with the 10-yr yield at 2.48%.

The Pending Home Sales report for June will cross the wires at 10:00 ET.

9:10 am: [BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +1.50. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +4.70. The stock market is on course for a quiet start to the trading week with the S&P 500 futures hovering less than two points above fair value. Index futures have maintained a narrow range overnight amid no market-moving developments taking place overseas.

Domestically, participants have received a handful of earnings, but none have come from market-moving companies. M&A activity, however, has been in focus with recent news indicating Zillow (Z 154.10, -4.76) will buy Trulia (TRLA 64.62, +8.27) for $3.50 billion in stock, which represents roughly a 25.3% premium to Friday's closing price.

Separately, Dollar Tree (DLTR 60.25, +6.08) has agreed to acquire Family Dollar (FDO 75.02, +14.36) for $74.50/share, representing a 22.8% premium to Friday's closing price.

There was no economic data reported ahead of the open, but the Pending Home Sales report for June (Briefing.com consensus -0.8%) will be released at 10:00 ET.

Treasuries hold slim losses with the 10-yr yield up one basis point at 2.48%.

8:59 am: [BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: +1.90. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: +6.70. The S&P 500 futures trade two points above fair value.

Markets in Asia ended on a mixed note, but indices in China and Japan rallied. Tradable news and data were absent from the calendar.

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  • Japan's Nikkei rallied 0.5% to its best close in more than six months. Casino-related names outperformed as Japan Cash Machine and Universal Entertainment Corp. gained 5.3% and 2.5%, respectively. 
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng added 0.9%, climbing for a fifth straight session and finishing at its best level since November 2010. Financials saw solid gains with Bank of Communications adding 6.2% on reports Beijing will allow more private capital to flow into the economy. 
  • China's Shanghai Composite jumped 2.4% to its best level in more than seven months. Financials led the way as Bank of Communications finished limit up, 10%, and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China rose 2.3%. 
Major European indices trade little changed with markets in Italy (-0.2%) and Spain (-0.2%) showing relative weakness. Of note, Moody's raised Portugal's sovereign rating to Ba1 from Ba2 with a 'Stable' outlook.
  • Economic data was limited to just one item: 
    • Italy's Business Confidence ticked down to 99.7 from 99.9 (expected 99.9) 
------
  • In France, the CAC is higher by 0.2% with drug maker Sanofi in the lead. The stock trades higher by 0.9%. Consumer names also display strength with Danone, L'Oreal, and Pernod Ricard up between 0.2% and 0.5%. 
  • Great Britain's FTSE hovers just above its flat line. Reckitt Benckiser leads with a gain of 2.7% after announcing plans to spin off its pharmaceutical business. On the downside, Aberdeen Asset Management is lower by 3.2%. 
  • Germany's DAX is lower by 0.1% with exporters on the defensive. Daimler and Volkswagen hold respective losses of 2.8% and 1.9%. Drug makers outperform with Bayer and Merck up 1.3% and 2.3%, respectively. 
  • Italy's MIB trades down 0.2%. Financials lag with Banco Popolare, BMPS, Mediobanca, and UBI Banca down between 1.3% and 2.0%.

8:27 am: [BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -0.80. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: flat. U.S. equity futures continue to drift near their flat lines, which has been the case for the duration of pre-market action. The S&P 500 futures have spent the past two hours in a two-point range and have not made a move larger than five points at any point during the night.

The lack of overnight movement reflects the lack of market-moving developments overseas. Domestically, the early action has been equally quiet with the exception of news regarding an acquisition in the specialty retail space. To that point, Dollar Tree (DLTR 59.25, +5.03) has agreed to acquire Family Dollar (FDO 75.65, +14.99) for $74.50/share, which represents a 22.8% premium to Friday's closing price.

7:57 am: [BRIEFING.COM] S&P futures vs fair value: -2.40. Nasdaq futures vs fair value: -4.30. U.S. equity futures trade little changed amid subdued action overseas. The S&P 500 futures hover two points below fair value.

Reviewing overnight developments:

  • Asian markets ended higher. Japan's Nikkei +0.5%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng +0.9%, and China's Shanghai Composite +2.4% 
    • There was no economic data reported on Monday 
    • In news: 
      • Chinese equities benefitted from speculation about potential stimulus measures being deployed by Beijing. 
      • In Japan, the approval rating of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's cabinet fell below 50% for the first time since taking office, according to Nikkei. 
  • Major European indices trade little changed. Germany's DAX -0.2%, Great Britain's FTSE +0.1%, and France's CAC +0.2%. Elsewhere, Italy's MIB -0.3% and Spain's IBEX -0.4% 
    • Economic data was limited: 
      • Italy's Business Confidence ticked down to 99.7 from 99.9 (expected 99.9) 
    • Among news of note: 
      • Moody's raised Portugal's sovereign rating to Ba1 from Ba2 with a 'Stable' outlook.
In U.S. corporate news:
  • Cisco Systems (CSCO 25.75, -0.22): -0.9% after being downgraded to Sector Perform from Outperform at Pacific Crest. 
  • Family Dollar (FDO 75.25, +14.71): +24.1% after agreeing to be acquired by Dollar Tree (DLTR 57.86, +3.64) for $74.50/share, representing a 22.8% premium to Friday's closing price. Peer Dollar General (DG 54.00, -1.61) holds a pre-market loss of 2.9%. 
  • Sohu.com (SOHU 56.30, -1.10): -1.9% after beating earnings estimates on below-consensus revenue. 
  • Tyson Foods (TSN 39.85, +0.31): +0.8% after reporting a top-line beat on below-consensus earnings. 
The Pending Home Sales report for June (Briefing.com consensus -0.8%) will be released at 10:00 ET.

6:37 am: [BRIEFING.COM] Nikkei...15529.40...+71.50...+0.50%.  Hang Seng...24428.63...+212.60...+0.90%.

6:37 am: [BRIEFING.COM] FTSE...6799.35...+7.80...+0.10%.  DAX...9625.26...-18.80...-0.20%.

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