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With little news to move them, markets continued to exhibit incredibly low volatility.First the scoreboard:

Dow: 13,172, +2.7, +0.0%
S&P 500: 1,403, -0.1, -0.0%
NASDAQ: 3,016, -5.5, -0.1%

And now the top stories:

  • In case you haven’t been paying attention, the markets have been exhibiting unusually low volatility in recent days.  BTIG’s Dan Greenhaus wrote about it recently: “The VIX index has declined on six of the last eight days and stands at less than 14 and is at the lowest level since the summer of 2007.”  However, this could portend bad news.  Greenhaus continued: “Each of the last times this has happened, the S&P 500 has embarked on a losing streak of varying amounts but generally lasting at least one month. This is a good time to remind clients that August and September are not good months historically speaking.”
  • Earlier this morning, we learned that the European economy shrank by 0.2 per cent in Q2, which was widely anticipated by economists. However, Europe’s largest economy Germany expanded by 0.3 per cent.  France, the second largest economy, report no growth. Expert Explains In Detail How The Next Shock Will Shatter The Global Economy >
  • The news out of the U.S. was a bit rosier.  Retail sales increased by 0.8 per cent in July, beating economists’ expectations for 0.3 per cent growth.  Excluding autos and gas, sales jumped 0.9 per cent, which was better than the 0.5 per cent gain expected.
  • Home Depot reported better-than expected earnings, although revenue came in a bit light.  However, management maintained revenue guidance and boosted earnings guidance.  On a conference call with analysts, management said they were seeing signs of a U.S. housing market recovery.
  • Cosmetics giant Estee Lauder reported a huge quarter with revenue jumping 10 per cent to $9.71 billion and earnings per share surging 23 per cent to $2.27.  Skin care and makeup sales both grew at double-digit rates.  But this isn’t necessarily a good sign for the economy.  According to the “lipstick indicator,” makeup sales will benefit from weakness in the economy.   Here Are 36 Weird Economic Indicators That You’ve Never Heard Of >
  • Finance legend Burton Malkiel, author of A Random Walk Down Wall Street, penned a rare op-ed for the Wall Street Journal.  “I believe that investors who pull their money out of the stock market today to invest in bonds are making a huge mistake,” he wrote.
  • Don’t Miss: What Is Fracking? This Animation Is The Best Guide We’ve Seen Yet >

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