All major stock market indexes closed last week in the red. Energy stocks dropped, as oil prices fell. Stocks in communication services and transportation also declined, impacting the large-cap indexes. Comments from the Fed pointed to signs of economic slowing, and leaned toward a possible rate cut later this month. The small caps of the Russell 2000 dipped the most last week, followed by the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, each of which fell more than 1.0%. The Global Dow and the Dow lost less than 1.0%. For the year, the tech stocks of the Nasdaq remain well in front, followed by the S&P 500 and the Dow, which have all gained over 15% from their 2018 closing values. Not surprising through all the recent short term decline in overall stocks, that gold continues to make a move upward.
LAST WEEK’S ECONOMIC HEADLINES
- June was a good month for sales at the retail level, as receipts were up over the previous month. For the last 12 months ended in June, retail sales are up 3.4%.Import prices dropped 0.9% in June, pulled down by falling fuel prices (-6.5%). This marks the first monthly decrease in import prices since December 2018. Over the last 12 months ended in June, import prices have plunged 2.0% — the largest 12-month drop since the index fell 2.2% from August 2015 to August 2016. Export prices for domestic goods and services sold to foreign buyers fell 0.7% in June, after decreasing 0.2% in May. Exports fell 1.6% for the year ended in June, the largest 12-month decline since the index decreased 2.4% from August 2015 to August 2016. Overall, this report further highlights the lack of inflationary pressures both here and globally.
- Industrial production was unchanged in June, as increases for both manufacturing (+0.4%) and mining (+0.2%) were offset by a drop in utilities (-3.6%). For the second quarter as a whole, industrial production declined at an annual rate of 1.2%, its second consecutive quarterly decrease. Overall, total industrial production was 1.3% higher in June than it was a year earlier.
- Judging by the dearth of applications for building permits and new residential construction, it doesn’t look like there will be a glut of new housing units on the market. Housing starts fell again last month, dropping 0.9% from May’s totals. On the plus side, single-family housing starts increased 3.5% in June. Building permits sank 6.1% in June and are down 6.6% from a year earlier. Housing completions also plummeted, decreasing 4.8% for the month and 3.7% below June 2018.
EYE ON THE WEEK AHEAD
Quite a bit of economic information is out this week, including June’s housing figures, durable goods orders (which have been lagging), and the first report on the second-quarter gross domestic product. The economy grew at an annualized rate of 3.1% in the first quarter.