Stocks failed to hold on to a rally on Tuesday but ended the trading session above the lows reached in the first half hour of trading.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 18,017.89, -22.48, (-0.12%)
- S&P 500: 2,110.46, -1.27, (-0.06%)
- Nasdaq: 5,077.45, -5.48, (-0.11%)
And now, the top stories on Tuesday:
- US auto sales crushed expectations in May, rising to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 17.9 million, according to Autodata. The consensus was for auto sales to rise 17.3 million. Honda posted the most impressive beat, with a 1.3% increase in sales versus expectations for a 4.4% decline. Audi sales surged 11%, while Mercedes-Benz reported a 12.2% jump. The data was so strong, it shifted GDP for Barclays economists. In a client note, they wrote, “The May growth in light weight vehicle sales moved our tracking estimate of Q2 real consumption growth up one-tenth to 2.6%.”
- Factory orders fell 0.4% in April, missing expectations for a drop by 0.1%. Orders for durable goods fell 1%, while orders for non-durable goods rose 0.2%. The data is a step down from March, when new orders for manufactured goods rose by 2.1%, the highest level in eight months.
- The euro surged against the dollar, crossing 1.11. The US dollar index was down by more than 1%, dropping to as low as 95.72. Greece met with all the leaders of its major creditors on Monday night, and has submitted a list of reforms. But Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Eurogroup president, said a deal with creditors was still far. The rally also followed news that Eurozone inflation came in at +0.3%, the first positive reading this year.
- US Treasuries sold off, and yields spiked. Near the close, the benchmark 10-year note’s yield was more than up more than seven basis points at 2.26%, very near its highs of the year.
- Wall Street initiated coverage on Bojangles today, and its shares fell 8%. The analysts’ comments were mixed. Jeffries said the brand’s strong presence in the Southern US is key to its growth, but Barclays says it will be challenging to expand outside of the core Carolina market. Bank of America Merrill Lynch thinks the stock’s outlook is dampened by its “high valuation.” The fried-chicken-and-biscuit-chain went public less than a month ago and priced its IPO at $US19 a share at the higher range of its expectations.
- Goldman Sachs expects the Federal Reserve to raise rates by September, but there’s a “strong risk management case for delaying liftoff.” In a note Tuesday, Goldman chief economist Jan Hatzius wrote, “for the first time in many years, the case for higher short-term interest rates looks reasonable to us, at least in the economic base case.” The Fed’s reading of the economy’s health indicates a slightly faster pace of rate hiking than the Taylor Rule, which stipulates how it should act on the data. However, there’s no guarantee that the economy will impressively rebound from the contraction we saw in the first quarter.