First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 15,518.7, -93.3, -0.6%
- S&P 500: 1,697.3, -9.7, -0.5%
- NASDAQ: 3,665.7, -27.1, -0.7%
And now, the top stories:
- “I often say the riskiest thing in the world is widespread belief that there’s no risk,” warned Oaktree Capital’s Howard Marks in a new memo. “While conditions, confidence and asset prices all seem moderate today, meaning there’s nothing brilliant to say about the short-term outlook, the long term remains worrisome. Because the U.S. is still able to attract capital from abroad and print money, our financial problems aren’t pressing at the moment. But the combination of intractable deficit spending, unsustainable entitlement promises and a total dearth of responsible action in Washington certainly raises alarms regarding the future.”
- The U.S. international trade deficit shrank to $US34.2 billion in June from $US44.1 billion in May. This is the smallest deficit since October 2009. Exports climbed 2.2%, but imports fell by 2.5%. This was largely due to shrinking oil imports. America’s petroleum deficit is at its lowest level since November 2010.
- According to CoreLogic, U.S. home prices climbed by 11.9% year over year in June, and 10% in the first half of the year. “This trend in home price gains is moving at the fastest pace since 1977,” said CoreLogic’s Mark Fleming.
- One of the big laggards in the market was IBM, which got downgraded by Credit Suisse. “Organically we believe IBM is effectively in decline,” said analyst Kulbinder Garcha who has a $US175 price target on the stock. “We estimate that overall IBM core organic growth will be -1.8% for 2013, and that software will grow at 1.9%”
- JC Penney shares tumbled today. “On Thursday August 1st JCP refuted the validity of reports of CIT Bank halting financing for JCP’s vendors,” said Morgan Stanley’s Kimberly Greenberger. “JCP stated it continues to receive vendor support and pre-announced an expected 2Q13 cash balance of $US1.5B. This number implies a sequential cash burn of over $US1B and falls short of our previous 2Q13 cash balance estimate of $US1.9B.”
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