After several weekly losses, the major domestic indexes all ended in positive territory on Friday, August 25. The S&P 500 gained 0.72%, the Dow was up 0.64%, and the NASDAQ added 0.79% for the week. International stocks in the MSCI EAFE also increased by 0.58%.
Last week provided a number of economic updates, and a report from Fed Chair Janet Yellen helped push the markets higher. Rather than providing a rundown of every report, we want to focus on two in particular that give key information on economic health - and a reminder to look beyond the headlines.
Beyond the Headlines in Housing and Manufacturing
1. Housing Drops
The headlines: Sales of both new and existing homes fell in July.
The deeper story: Relatively few existing houses are available for purchase. In addition, builders are focusing on more lavish new homes rather than the modest ones that many buyers seek. As a result, the median price of a new home hit its highest July level ever, climbing to $313,700 - 6% higher than this time last year. Existing home prices are also 6.2% above where they were in July 2016.
The takeaway: High prices may be excluding first-time homebuyers from the market - especially for new houses.
2. Manufacturing Declines
The headlines: Durable goods orders plunged by 6.8%.
The deeper story: The headline's stated monthly decline is largely due to a sharp drop-off in orders for transportation equipment, in particular for civilian aircraft. However, if you dig deeper, you will see that July's civilian aircraft decrease follows a massive 129.3% increase in June, calming any concerns about the aircraft industry. Overall, orders for core goods beat expectations and could help drive a higher reading for second quarter GDP.
The takeaway: Orders and shipments for many key goods increased in July, which points to positive sentiment among businesses - and good news for the economy.
On the Horizon
This week, we will receive the second reading of second-quarter GDP, as well as both Consumer Confidence and Consumer Sentiment updates. Furthermore, according to President Trump's Chief Economic Advisor, an announcement on tax reforms will occur on August 30. Together, these reports could affect market behavior and indicate both where the economy has been and what may be on the horizon.
As always, while we pay attention to today's headlines and updates, our focus remains solidly on how to move you toward the future you desire. Should you have any questions, we are here to help.
Tuesday: Consumer Confidence
Wednesday: GDP, ADP Employment Report
Thursday: Personal Income and Outlays
Friday: Motor Vehicle Sales, PMI Manufacturing Index, ISM Mfg Index, Consumer Sentiment
Notes: All index returns (except S&P 500) exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5- year and 10-year returns are annualized. The total returns for the S&P 500 assume reinvestment of dividends on the last day of the month. This may account for differences between the index returns published on Morningstar.com and the index returns published elsewhere. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.
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The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.
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The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indices from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.
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