The Week In Review


Equity indices finished a cautious week on an upbeat note. The S&P 500 (+0.9%) and Nasdaq (+1.0%) reclaimed their 50-day moving averages, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+1.0%) was able to turn positive for the month (+0.1%). However, today's rally did not feature the same conviction as yesterday with just fewer than 620 million shares changing hands at the NYSE floor versus Thursday's above-average total of 720 million.

The stock market received an early boost from heavily-weighted consumer discretionary (+1.1%) and technology (+1.2%) sectors. Both groups were underpinned by better than expected earnings with discretionary shares rallying behind Nike (NKE 89.50, +9.75), which surged 12.2%.

Elsewhere, the technology sector drew strength from chipmakers following an earnings beat from Micron (MU 33.84, +2.14). The stock jumped 6.8%, while the broader PHLX Semiconductor Index rose 1.3% to narrow its September loss to 0.3%. To be sure, large cap components also displayed strength with Apple (AAPL 100.75, +2.88) spiking nearly 3.0%.

Stocks were briefly pressured from their morning highs by the underperforming health care sector (+0.3%). The group could not catch up to the broader market amid weakness in hospital names like Tenet Healthcare (THC 60.75, -1.09), but biotechnology rallied with the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 276.41, +2.44) advancing 0.9%.

The relative weakness in the health care space did not stand in the market's way during afternoon action as other influential groups like financials (+0.9%), industrials (+0.9%), and energy (+1.3%) picked up the slack. In the financial sector, Janus Capital (JNS 15.89, +4.78) soared 43.0% after it was announced Bill Gross will be joining the company following his departure from PIMCO.

For its part, the energy sector rebounded from its recent underperformance amid a 1.1% rise in crude oil. The energy component ended the pit session at $93.55/bbl to register a 2.2% gain for the week.

Treasuries slumped in the morning, but the rest of the session saw a divergence among different maturities. The 10-yr note settled near its low with its yield up three basis points at 2.53%, while the long bond returned to its flat line with its yield at 3.22%.

Also of note, the Dollar Index (85.63, +0.43) continued charging higher to extend this week's gain to 1.1%. The index will enter the final two sessions of the month after surging 3.6% so far in September.

On Monday, Personal Income ( consensus 0.3%) and Spending (consensus 0.4%) data for August will be reported at 8:30 ET alongside core PCE Prices (expected 0.0%). The day's data will be topped off with the Pending Home Sales report for August (consensus -0.2%).

Nasdaq Composite +8.0% YTD
S&P 500 +7.2% YTD
Dow Jones Industrial Average +3.2% YTD
Russell 2000 -3.8% YTD
Week in Review: Stocks Endure Broad Retreat

The stock market began the trading week on the defensive note with small-cap stocks pacing the retreat. The Russell 2000 (-1.4%) and Nasdaq Composite (-1.1%) displayed relative weakness, while the S&P 500 lost 0.8% with all ten sectors ending in the red. Global equities began showing some cracks overnight after China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei poured cold water on hopes for new stimulus measures. Specifically, Mr. Lou said the government has no plans to change policies despite the recent string of disappointing data. A somewhat similar hawkish tone was conveyed by comments from Japan's Economy Minister Akira Amari, who said his country's government remains on track to implement another consumption tax hike.

Stocks finished the Tuesday session on the defensive after spending the entire day in a steady retreat. The S&P 500 (-0.6%) posted its third consecutive decline, while the small-cap Russell 2000 (-0.9%) slipped behind the broader market during afternoon action. Equity indices were pressured from the start following some overnight developments that weighed on sentiment. The market tried to overcome the early weakness, but could not stage a sustained rebound, which resulted in follow-through selling in the afternoon. Mixed PMI data from the eurozone combined with an announcement from the U.S. Treasury concerning tax inversion deals factored into the cautious action. Fittingly, the news caused early weakness in the health care sector (-0.6%), which has been at the center of recent M&A deals. The sector was able to cut its early loss in half.

The stock market ended the midweek session on an upbeat note despite enduring a shaky start to the day. The S&P 500 rose 0.8% with nine sectors posting gains, while the Nasdaq Composite (+1.0%) outperformed. Equity indices spent the initial 90 minutes of action near their flat lines with the S&P 500 briefly pressured to its 50-day moving average (1976.58) by the early weakness in the energy sector (+0.04%). The growth-sensitive group was down in excess of 1.0% in the early going, but charged into positive territory during afternoon action. Crude oil went along for the afternoon ride, climbing 1.6% to $93.03/bbl. The test of the 50-day moving average invited dip buyers into the fold, while the relative strength of high-beta areas like biotechnology and chipmakers emboldened their efforts. Furthermore, a well-timed report from the Wall Street Journal indicating China may replace the People's Bank of China Governor Zhou with someone more dovish provided an added measure of support.

Equities endured a broad-based retreat on Thursday that pressured the Nasdaq (-1.9%) and the S&P 500 (-1.6%) below their 50-day moving averages, while the Dow (-1.5%) notched a session low just above that mark. All ten sectors were encompassed in the slide with eight groups posting losses of 1.0% or more. The indices began the day with modest losses and continued heading lower through the first 90 minutes of the session. Interestingly, dip-buyers showed very little interest in getting involved, which resulted in new session lows during the afternoon. The reluctance to step into the fold was driven in part by the lack of notable leadership. To that point, all six cyclical sectors ended in-line or behind the S&P 500 with high-beta areas like biotechnology and chipmakers finishing among the laggards. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF and the PHLX Semiconductor Index both lost 1.9%.