Stocks are down slightly today, continuing a pullback from
record highs earlier in the week.
S&P 500 futures are off less than 0.1 percent, matching similar
declines in Europe. Asia was mixed in the overnight session, with
China advancing despite drops in most other countries.
Investors are waiting for retail-sales data at 8:30 a.m. ET,
existing home sales at 10 a.m. ET and minutes from the last Federal
Reserve meeting at 2 p.m. ET. All those reports--especially the Fed
transcripts--will be eyed for indications about the future of
monetary policy. Interest rates have been climbing since May as
money leaves the bond market, so the Fed's purchases are considered
necessary to prevent a stampede that could drive up borrowing costs
and threaten the broader economy.
The S&P 500 hit an all-time high of 1802 on Monday, reversed
lower the same session, and shed another 0.2 percent yesterday. The
strength has been widely spread across all sectors, with
economically sensitive areas like transports and industrials
leading. The last week has also seen money flowing into
financials--especially big banks, financial exchanges, loan
servicers, life insurers, and credit-rating agencies. Our
market scanner also shows buying in fracking stocks, trash haulers,
and home builders.
In company-specific news, home-improvement chain Lowe's is down 3
percent after third-quarter earnings missed estimates by a penny
and profit guidance was weak. Sales were strong, so the
home-improvement company appears to be following a pattern of weak
margins that has plagued other retailers this earnings season.
J.C. Penney has reversed initial losses after reporting a
wider-than-expected loss but saying that sales were "encouraging"
so far this month. That bolsters hopes of a successful turnaround
at the struggling department-store operator. Agricultural-equipment
company Deere is bouncing 4 percent after earnings beat forecasts.
Staples and ADT also report this morning, along followed by L
Brands and Williams-Sonoma this afternoon.
Trading is mildly bearish in foreign-exchange markets, with the
euro and Australian dollar down slightly and the safe-haven
Japanese yen up across the board. Copper is posting a small gain
while oil and agricultural products are little-changed. Precious
metals declined fractionally.
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