- Stocks tick lower to begin quiet week. The S&P 500 is modestly lower in early trading, kicking off a week with little upcoming in the way of economic data and policy; earnings will likely take center stage. The S&P logged a 0.7% gain on Friday following the monthly jobs report, though stocks ended last week little changed despite a barrage of bellwether earnings reports. The S&P climbed 0.1% on the week on the back of a 2.4% gain in the healthcare sector. Asian indexes closed mostly higher overnight; the Hang Seng (+1.0%) outperformed the broader region despite a weak Caixin Services PMI report. European stocks are mostly lower in afternoon trading; Italy’s MIB (-1.6%) leads the way lower while the STOXX Europe 600 is down 0.4%. Finally, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note is down to 2.44%, WTI crude oil ($53.65/barrel) is lower by 0.3%, and COMEX gold ($1228/oz.) is rising 0.6%.
- Earnings pace picked up over the past week. S&P 500 estimates for the fourth quarter jumped 1.2% over the past week and are now tracking to an 8% year-over-year increase, 1.8% above initial estimates on January 1, 2017 (Thomson Reuters estimates). The latest improvement was driven largely by the energy sector, which had gotten off to a difficult start and now may produce its first earnings gain in more than two years. Financials and technology, the fastest earnings growers for the quarter, also saw earnings tick up over the past week. Guidance has been relatively good as 2017 S&P 500 estimates have fallen just 0.7% during earnings season, better than average (they typically drop 2-3%) and a positive sign, although only about 55% of S&P 500 companies have reported thus far. This week is another busy one for earnings with 89 S&P 500 companies slated to report.
- Weekly gains again. After a 0.7% jump on Friday, the S&P 500 managed to squeak out a 0.1% gain for the week – the first back-to-back weekly win since Thanksgiving. The S&P 500 just missed out on a new all-time closing high Friday, but it did set a new weekly all-time high. Continuing a recent trend, equity prices gapped at the open, then did very little the rest of the day. In fact, the S&P 500 has now gone 34 consecutive days without a 1% daily range – tying the all-time record from 1995. It has now been 79 consecutive days without a 1% close lower for the S&P 500, the longest stretch in more than 20 years.
- China continues its post-holiday bad news drip. More Caixin (mid-sized and smaller companies) data were released overnight. Composite PMI (both services and manufacturing) were down as manufacturing disappointed last week, while services fell this week to 53.1 from 53.4 in the prior month. However, the numbers still suggest expansion in the economy, just at a slower pace. This is the eleventh consecutive month of expansion. Asian markets (save Australia) had a positive session overnight and the Chinese yuan strengthened slightly.
- European data shows continued expansion. European data released this morning show economic expansion, though not all numbers were rosy. German factory orders grew at 5.2% for the month, much better than expected. Retail PMIs also showed expansion (above 50) for most, but these numbers were weaker than expected in Germany and region wide. Of the major countries in Europe, Italy remains the weak link, with retail PMI below 50 since the end of 2015 and weaker than expected this month. Markets are weaker across the board this morning in Europe.
- Quiet week ahead. Last week (January 30-February 3) was an unusually busy one for economic data and policy. This week (February 6-10) is not. While China will begin to report its January 2017 data set, there are few if any potentially market moving data reports on tap in the U.S., Europe, or Japan. There are a handful of Fed speakers, ECB president Mario Draghi will deliver a speech, and central banks in emerging markets will be busy as Mexico is expected to raise rates and India is expected to cut. The U.K. parliament will continue to debate and then vote this week on whether to trigger Article 50 and officially start the process of leaving the EU.
- NAFTA. This week we’ll take a look at the politics behind NAFTA-the North American Free Trade Agreement-and its impact on U.S. trade, employment, and wages-as the Trump Administration continues to make changes to U.S. trade policy.
- A technical look at things. Long-term technicals continue to look very promising, with multiple U.S. equity indexes breaking out to new all-time highs. This type of market breadth bodes well for a possible continuation of the equity bull market. One potential worry is seasonality, as the month of February is historically weak. Digging in more, in the calendar year following a presidential election, February is the worst month on average. One other near-term worry is overall market sentiment is rather optimistic. From a contrarian point of view, this could be a potential warning sign.
- Harker (Hawk)
- ECB’s Draghi speaks in Brussels
- UK: House of Commons to Vote on Article 50
- India: Reserve Bank of India Meeting (Rate Cut Expected)
- Mexico: Central Bank Meeting (Rate Hike Expected)
- China: Money Supply and New Loan Growth (Jan)
- China: Imports and Exports (Jan)
- Fischer (Dove)
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