Stocks closed the session mixed, but little changed, as some economic data reported this morning came in mixed, another wave of corporate earnings were reported, and the U.S. and EU announced sanctions against Russian companies.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 16,912.11, 70.5, (-0.4%)
- S&P 500: 1,969.95, -9, (-0.4%)
- Nasdaq: 4,442.70, -2.2, (-0.05%)
And now, the top stories on Tuesday:
1. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index for July rose to 90.9 from 85.2 in June, the index’s highest reading since October 2007. Economists were expected the index to come in at 85.4. Along with the report, the Conference Board’s Lynn Franco said, “Strong job growth helped boost consumers’ assessment of current conditions, while brighter short-term outlooks for the economy and jobs, and to a lesser extent personal income, drove the gain in expectations. Recent improvements in consumer confidence, in particular expectations, suggest the recent strengthening in growth is likely to continue into the second half of this year.”
2. On the housing front, the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index fell 0.3% month-over-month in May, missing economists’ expectations for a 0.3% gain. This was the index’s first month-over-month decline since January 2012. On a year-over-year basis, prices rose 9.3%, also shy of the 9.9% that was expected. “The slowdown in price appears to be indicative of the weakening in housing activity more generally, particularly after the very slow start to the spring selling season,” said TD Securities’ Millan Mulraine.
3. Both the European Union, and later the U.S., announced round of economic sanctions against Russia, with the EU’s sanctions marking the first action by the economic bloc against its eastern neighbour. The EU’s sanctions included imposing sanctions on Russia’s banking, technology, and arms sectors. The U.S.’s latest sanctions also targeted the same areas. BI’s Brett LoGiurato has the full rundown here.
4. A number of major companies announced corporate earnings today, including shipping giant UPS, which saw shares fall more than 3% after its quarterly profit, and full-year earnings outlook, came in below expectations. Pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Merck also reported earnings, with both companies reporting bottom-line profits that topped estimates on sales that declined over the prior year.
5. Earnings are expected to continue rolling after the market close, with Twitter expected to headline. Analysts are looking for Twitter to lost $US0.01 per share and book revenue of $US283.07 million.
6. Windstream Holdings and Frontier Communications were the S&P 500’s biggest gainers after Windstream announced that it received a favourable ruling from the IRS to spin-off its fibre and copper network assets into a real estate investment trust, or REIT. Following the news, Timothy Horan, an analyst at Oppenheimer, said the announcement is positive for the whole communication infrastructure sector. Shares of Windstream gained nearly 14%, while Frontier gained 11%.
7. Investors and market watchers are turning their attention to a busy day for economic data tomorrow, with the initial read on Q2 GDP expected at 8:30 am ET, and the results from the Federal Reserve’s latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting expected at 2:00 pm ET.
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