Stocks rebounded and closed higher after five straight days of declines. Energy stocks rallied 3% to lead gains on the S&P 500, with all ten sectors advancing into the close. Earnings results from companies including UPS, Pfizer, and Ford topped forecasts.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 17,636.75, +196.16, (1.12%)
- S&P 500: 2,093.72, +26.08, (1.26%)
- Nasdaq: 5,089.44, +49.67, (0.99%)
And now, the top stories on Tuesday:
- The US homeownership rate fell to 63.4% in the second quarter, the lowest level since 1967. Meanwhile, rents are climbing. Data from the Census Bureau showed that the rental vacancy rate fell to 6.8% in the quarter. In a note to clients, UBS’ Maury Harris wrote: “In Q2, rental and homeowner vacancies continued to decline, and household formation was a rapid 1.6 million units y/y … faster household formation is an obvious source of housing demand and consumer spending, but it also suggests a degree of confidence lacking in the Conference Board confidence figures.”
- Consumer confidence plummeted to a 10-month low. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index fell to 90.9 in July (100.0 expected, 101.4 prior). In the release, the Conference Board’s Lynn Franco wrote: “A less optimistic outlook for the labour market, and perhaps the uncertainty and volatility in financial markets prompted by the situation in Greece and China, appears to have shaken consumers’ confidence.”
- Home prices unexpectedly fell in May. The S&P/Case-Shiller home price index showed a 0.2% month-on-month drop on a seasonally adjusted basis (0.3% estimated) while prices rose 4.9% year-over-year (5.6% estimated). Not seasonally adjusted, home prices climbed 1.1%. “Over the next two years or so, the rate of home price increases is more likely to slow than to accelerate,” wrote S&P Dow Jones Indices’ David Blitzer in the release.
- Business activity in the services sector picked up slightly in July. The flash services PMI reading from Markit Economics came in at 55.2 (55.0 expected, 54.8 prior). Confidence in the business outlook fell to the lowest level since June 2012.
- BP lost $US5.8 billion in the second quarter on settlement costs related to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil crash also dented the company’s earnings, and it doesn’t see a rebound in prices soon. “In the past few weeks oil prices have fallen back in response to continued oversupply and market weakness and the recent agreements regarding Iran,” said CEO Bob Dudley. I am confident that positioning BP for a period of weaker prices is the right course to take, and will serve the company well for the future.”
- The ruble has wiped nearly all its gains for the year. Russia’s currency fell below 60 per dollar for the first time since March, following the recent 20% drop in oil prices. This complicates policy decisions for the central bank, which has cut rates four times this year, and may now have to pause.
- Consumer confidence plummeted to a 10-month low. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index fell to 90.9 in July (11.0 expected, 101.4 prior). In the release, the Conference Board’s Lynn Franco wrote: “A less optimistic outlook for the labour market, and perhaps the uncertainty and volatility in financial markets prompted by the situation in Greece and China, appears to have shaken consumers’ confidence.”
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