Market Snapshot: Dow books slight loss but S&P 500 clinches longest win streak in nearly 2 months as investors shake off weak China data

U.S. stocks shook off early losses to finish mostly higher Monday, with buying in consumer discretionary and information technology helping to buttress the broader market, despite a report that revealed slower-than-forecast growth in China that was blamed for early weakness.

How did major indexes perform?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average

slipped 36.15 points, or 0.1%, to 35,258.61, off an intraday low at 35,035.94, FactSet data show, leaving the blue-chip index still around 1% from its record close on Aug. 16.

The S&P 500

rose 15.09 points, or 0.3%, to reach 4,486.49, after slipping to a Monday low at 4,447.47. The gain marked the fourth straight for the broad-market index, representing its longest win streak since Aug. 25.

The Nasdaq Composite Index

gained 124.47 points, or 0.8%, to 15,021.81, marking its fourth consecutive rise and its longest win streak since Sept. 7.

On Friday, after the release of stronger-than-forecast retail sales figures, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 382 points, or 1.1%, to 35,295, the S&P 500 increased 33 points, or 0.8%, to 4,471, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 74 points, or 0.5%, to 14,897.

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What drove the market?

Buying in consumer discretionary
technology shares

and communication services

gave the broader market a bit of a boost, as investors attempted to shake off an earlier dour mood on Wall Street that had been partly prompted by concerns about the economic health of the world’s second-largest economy.

China reported 4.9% year-over-year growth in the third quarter, a big slowdown from the 7.9% recorded in the second quarter, as construction output slowed.

Hand-wringing about stuttering global growth and surging inflation has helped to check the bulls somewhat, as crude-oil futures

touched multiyear highs before retreating on the day. Concerns about inflation also were on display across the pond, before trickling over into U.S. markets.

U.K. bond yields

rose after Bank of England Gov. Andrew Bailey said the central bank would have to act to quell inflation, raising the prospect of rate increases in the country. U.S. central bank officials, as a whole, haven’t been as alarmed by the rise in prices.

A stunning rally in energy prices has been cited as further reason to cast doubt on the prospect for strong global growth in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with analysts concerned that the U.S. could be stunted.

Read: Here’s when soaring oil prices could make the stock market sputter

“An astonishing increase in the price of energy has seen European natural gas prices rise almost fivefold since the start of the year, fueling inflationary fears and concerns about a global slowdown,” wrote Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors, in emailed comments.

However, the strategist said that the U.S. may be more insulated from the effects of that crisis, which she said could fuel outperformance by U.S. markets.

“For its part, however, the U.S. is in a relatively good position to weather the shock. It’s energy self-sufficient, and consumers have significant excess savings to absorb higher prices. In contrast, as a large net importer of energy, Europe is more exposed,” Shah wrote.

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The moves in stocks come against the backdrop of third-quarter earnings season, which kicks into higher gear this week with releases from Netflix
and International Business Machines
among others.

“People are focused on economic and earnings fundamentals, which remain strong,” said Brent Schutte, chief investment strategist for Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company in Milwaukee. “The reality is consumers have a lot of cash to deploy and corporations remain in a good spot.

“Inflation is still the biggest wild card, but to me the way to position for an inflationary environment is in equity markets, not bond markets, especially if the Fed is going to be patient about raising rates,” Schutte said via phone.

In economic reports, a reading of U.S. industrial output was down 1.3% in September. The reading for August was revised lower to a decline of 0.1% from a gain of 0.4%.

The National Association of Home Builders said its monthly confidence index increased four points to a reading of 80 in October — the highest reading since July.

“The U.S. economy is generally in good shape and, all in, the story is a relatively good story compared to other major regions of the world,” said Rich Sega, global chief investment strategist at Conning, which has $209 billion in assets under management. “A lot of people have been concerned about the sustainability of the expansion, but I’m feeling pretty good about that and earnings.” 

Which companies were in focus?

Zillow Group IncZ is pausing the purchase of U.S. homes as it works through a backlog of properties, Bloomberg News reported Sunday. Shares fell 9.5%.

Square Inc. SQ is contemplating building a system for bitcoin BTCUSD mining, according to Chief Executive Jack Dorsey. The payment platform’s shares closed up 1.3%.

Walmart Inc. WMT announced the return of its “Black Friday Deals for Days” event, taking place during the month of November. Shares ended 0.8% higher. Inc. AMZN said Monday that it is looking for 150,000 seasonal hires, both full- and part-time. Its stock was up 1.1%.

How did other markets fare?

The 10-year Treasury yield TMUBMUSD10Y rose less than a basis point to 1.583%. Yields and debt prices move in opposite directions.

Oil futures finished modestly higher, with the November WTI contract

adding 16 cents, or 0.2%, to settle at $82.44 a barrel. December gold futures

fell $2.60, or nearly 0.2%, to settle at $1,765.70 an ounce.

The Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP finished 0.5% lower, while London’s FTSE 100 UKX dropped 0.4%.

The Shanghai Composite SHCOMP closed 0.1% lower, and Japan’s Nikkei 225 NIK declined 0.2%.

Steve Goldstein contributed to this article.

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