Stocks fell from their highs of the day into the market close. After nearly scraping all-time highs on Monday, stocks finished lower every other day and have ended red for the week.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,567.70, -164.22, (-0.93%)
- S&P 500: 2,078.71, -23.44, (-1.12%)
- Nasdaq: 5,088.51, -57.90, (-1.13%)
And now, the top stories on Friday:
- The oil rig count climbed this week by the most since the plunge started after the oil crash. Data from driller Baker Hughes showed that oil rigs climbed by 21 to 659. The count fell by seven last week, after two straight weeks of climbs that were preceded by 25 straight weeks of declines. In its earnings statement, Baker Hughes forecast that the count will stay largely unchanged for the rest of the year. Following the data, release, West Texas Intermediate crude slipped to around $US48.02 per barrel.
- There was a leak at the Federal Reserve. Internal staff economic forecasts prepared for the June FOMC meeting were accidentally published online on June 29. And so in a statement today, the Fed released the projections. They are not the FOMC’s official forecasts, however, and do note determine monetary policy actions. Meanwhile, the Fed is being investigated for a bigger leak that happened in 2012 when confidential documents ended up in a private newsletter before they were officially released.
- Hedge funds are betting on a decline in gold prices for the first time on record. Bloomberg reported that they shifted to a net-short position of 11,345 in New York futures and options for the week ending July 21. Gold has struggled to rebound from the flash crash on Sunday, and it fell to a fresh five-year low today.
- Amazon surged as much as 16% after the company reported earnings that beat expectations. On Thursday evening, Amazon reported $US23.18 billion in revenues — a 20% year-over-year jump. Earnings per share came in at $US0.19, ahead of the consensus forecast for -$US0.14. All of the sell-side analyst notes we saw were bullish, with several hiking their price targets on the stock.
- Biogen plunged 21% after it warned that its key multiple sclerosis drug will not sell as it had expected. Revenues from Tecfidera rose 26% to $US883 million year-over-year in Q2, slower than the 63% rate recorded in the previous quarter. CEO George Scangos said, “TECFIDERA, which is now the most prescribed oral MS therapy globally, is experiencing moderated patient growth following rapid initial uptake.”
- New home sales unexpectedly fell to a seven-month low. According to the Census Bureau, sales of newly constructed homes fell 6.8% month-over-month (0.3% expected) at an annual rate of 482,000 (548,000 expected), the lowest since November. “While the June report is disappointing, new home sales represents a small portion of total home sales (just 8%), and has not been representative of the rest of the housing market which has been impressive,” wrote BNP Paribas’ Bricklin Dwyer in a note to clients.
- The latest flash reading of the manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index from Markit Economics came in at 53.8 for July, ahead of the estimate of 53.6. Higher production and orders boosted the measure, which fell to a 20-month low in June.