STOCKS GO NOWHERE, DOW TOPS CLOSING HIGH: Here's what you need to know

Stocks barely moved convincingly in either direction on Tuesday, in another session marked by weak trading volume.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed the all-time closing high it reached on Monday. The index rose for an eighth straight day, the longest rally since March 2013.

First, the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 18,559.14, +26.09, (0.14%)
  • S&P 500: 2,163.80, -3.09, (-0.14%)
  • Nasdaq: 5,036.37, -19.41, (-0.38%)
  • WTI crude oil: $44.65, -$0.59, (-1.30%)
  1. In US economic data, housing starts rose more than expected in June. Starts jumped 4.8% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.189 million, rebounding from a downward-revised 1.7% drop in the May. Economists had forecast that starts rose 0.2% month-on-month in June at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.164 million. Building-permit activity also topped estimates, rising by 1.5% at a rate of 1.153 million. Starts data are usually volatile month-to-month, but June’s increase ” shows a sturdy demand for new homes as we move into the second half of the year,” said Quicken Loans Vice President Bill Banfield.
  2. Goldman Sachs beat expectations for second-quarter profits and revenues. The firm reported earnings per share of $3.72 on revenue of $7.93 billion ($3.08 per share on $7.55 billion forecast). Fixed income, currencies, and commodities — or FICC — trading revenues were $1.93 billion ($1.80 billion expected), up 20% year-over-year. The bank has lowered its headcount by 5% since the first quarter, to about 34,800 people.
  3. Johnson & Johnson also beat on earnings, helped by strong sales of new drugs. The pharmaceutical giant posted revenue of $18.5 billion, up 3.9% year-on-year, and more than analysts’ median forecast for $18 billion, according to Bloomberg. Adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.74 ($1.68 expected). Global pharmaceutical sales rose 8.9% to $8.7 billion.
  4. The Turkish lira was the worst performing emerging-market currency. It tumbled by as much as 2% to 3.0498 per dollar, amid the fallout from Friday’s coup attempt. Turkey’s education board ordered 1,577 university deans to resign as part of a sweep of dozens of state institutions following the failed coup. A faction within the Turkish armed forces calling itself the “Peace at Home Council” tried to overthrow the government, but was thwarted within a day, after Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan drummed up support.
  5. The US government is planning to file lawsuits to block the massive mergers of four healthcare giants, according to Bloomberg . The Department of Justice will try to block both the $54 billion deal between Anthem and Cigna, which would create the largest health insurance company based on the number of people covered, and a $37 billion takeover of Humana by Aetna. Both deals are being blocked on anticompetitive grounds, Bloomberg said, citing sources within the Justice Department. Lawsuits could come by the end of the week, the report said. The deals had already faced regulatory pushback from Democratic US senators.


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