Tuesday’s market rally turned the major indexes positive for the month of September.
For a second day, trading volumes on the New York Stock Exchange were a little lighter than usual, ahead of the Federal Reserve’s big policy announcement on Thursday.
First, the scoreboard:
- Dow: 16,624.07, +253.11, (1.55%)
- S&P 500: 1,981.03, +28.00, (1.43%)
- Nasdaq: 4,867.33, +61.56, (1.28%)
And now, the top stories on Tuesday:
- There were a lot of data this morning. Retail sales rose for a third straight month in August. Retail sales climbed 0.2% (0.3% expected), and 0.1% excluding autos and gas. Sales at gas stations dropped 1.8%, the highest for any category (as well as building materials). Economists noted that lower gas prices contributed to the decline. The report “suggests that the bout of late-month financial turmoil, which impacted consumer confidence a little, did not have any meaningful adverse impact on consumption,” wrote Capital Economics’ Steve Murphy in a client note.
- A drop in production of autos and auto parts led to a 0.5% drop in manufacturing output last month, according to the Federal Reserve. Overall, industrial production fell 0.4%, more than expected, while capacity utilization was 77.6%.
- The most awful piece of data today was the New York Fed’s Empire State manufacturing index, which was -14.7 this month, compared to -14.9 in August. Although the data is an outlier compared to national surveys, it shows that manufacturing in the region is definitely weak, according to Pantheon Macroeconomics’ Ian Shepherdson. Orders and shipments fell, and optimism about future conditions fell.
- The bond market is ready for higher interest rates. Treasuries sold off today, and some shorter-term bond yields jumped to multi-year highs. The two-year treasury yield jumped to a four-year high of 0.815% today. Yields (which rise as bond prices fall) on the 1-year and 6-month bills also hit the highest level in years. Short-term treasuries have the most sensitivity to interest rates and Fed policy. While the move doesn’t indicate that traders definitely expect a hike on Thursday, it signals that “we are the closest we have ever been to the start of the hiking cycle,” according to TD Securities’ Priya Misra in a note to Business Insider.
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