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Even Apple Can't Sweeten Market Indexes

·3 min read
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Market indexes only spent a short time in the green today, on better-than-expected Consumer Price Index (CPI) data that showed inflation not quite yet the demon at our door. We opened the day in positive territory, but market sentiment turned south again soon after. Even Apple’s AAPL new iPhone unveiling — the 13, 13A, 13 Pro and 13 Max, between $699-1099 — couldn’t get buyers to take control.

The Dow dropped nearly 300 points, -0.83% on the day. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were pretty close: -0.57% and -0.45%, respectively. The small-cap Russell 2000 took another -1.4% hit, however. Of the four major indexes, the S&P 500 continues to lead the pack.

Technical questions about trading resistance abound: will we bounce off the 50-day or break below it? Is this the start of the -5% correction analysts have noted is absent year to date, here in the historically foreboding month of September? Rumors of supply-chain difficulties — and actual lack of inventory in some industries — are presenting clear motives to the relatively sour market attitude.

Q3 earnings season will settle the score on near-term growth, however. We’re still a month out from new reports (and guidance) hitting the tape at high volume, and we already know the low base effect quarter has passed us in Q2. But better-than-expected prospects to the following quarter and next year would mark a good spot for markets to climb higher. Of course, if these supply-chain issues continue in the coming earnings season, so will the sourness.

Same deal with employment: if our current lag in building back the labor force persists when present-month numbers are reported, we could be looking at a market lag lasting more than a blip on the screen. But even if this and supply issues persist over the next month or two, eventually things will bounce back. There’s too much demand for too many things; another push upward looks in the cards at some point, either in the latter part of 2021 or early 2022.

Tomorrow is Import/Export numbers and Industrial Production/Capacity Utilization for August, Empire State index for September. These will also provide grist for the mill — or at least leaves in the tea — for which market participants will decide their next move on the economic front. We’ve backed off those all-time closing highs across the board right now. The question is: how long until we get back there?

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