STOCKS CLIMB: Here's what you need to know

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad ZarifAP Photo/Ronald ZakIranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif

Stocks rallied for the second day in a row, despite retail sales flopping and small-business optimism declining.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 18,054.91, +77.23, (0.43%)
  • S&P 500: 2,110.13, +10.53, (0.50%)
  • Nasdaq: 5,109.95, +38.44, (0.76%)

And now, the top stories on Tuesday:

  1. World powers reached a nuclear deal with Iran. After intense negotiations with the P5+1, Iran has agreed to curb it’s nuclear program in exchange for the easing of sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Iran could receive over $US100 billion from the unfreezing of overseas assets and the lifting of oil embargoes and bank restrictions. Iranian foreign minister Mohammed Javed Zarif called the agreement a “win-win solution” for his country. While Putin, Assad, and other Iran allies are praising the deal, Netanyahu called it a “historic mistake” for the world.
  2. Retail sales were disappointing. They fell 0.3%, and excluding autos, sales fell 0.1%, according to the Census Bureau’s advance estimate. This was a big miss considering economists had been expecting a 0.2% increase, and +0.5% excluding autos. Meanwhile, Bank of America Merrill Lynch nailed the report with their estimates on Monday. Using internal debit and credit card data, BAML’s Michelle Meyer and her team made spot on predictions for the ugly report.
  3. Twitter shares spiked from a fake takeover report. A hoax website made to look like reported that Twitter received a $US31 billion takeover offer. This immediately sent shares surging, only to fall back down again after both Bloomberg and Twitter denied the report.
  4. Small business optimism was also disappointing. The NFIB’s Business Optimism index fell to 94.1 in June from 98.5 in May, and in its release the NFIB said the reading was “not a recession signal” but was “a clear sign that economic growth on Main Street is not set for a strong second half.” The report indicated that small businesses essentially added no jobs in June, while earnings indicators were particularly disappointing, as a net negative 17% of small businesses reported higher wages in June.
  5. Gold is finally cheap. In its latest fund manager survey, Bank of America Merrill Lynch noted that on a valuation basis, gold was viewed as “undervalued” by fund managers for the first time since August 2009. By BAML’s measure, the precious metal is 1% undervalued, even though it is now almost 40% lower than its all-time high hit back in 2011.

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