In this week’s recap: tariffs and U.S.-China trade tensions once again become the talk of Wall Street, and U.S. stocks end up lower, week-over-week.
Weekly Economic Update
THE WEEK ON WALL STREET
Stocks fell sharply at the start of last week over trade tensions, then recovered with help from strong earnings and indications that U.S.-China trade talks would continue. Even so, the major indices had a down week. The S&P 500 lost 0.76%, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.27%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.69%.
In contrast, the MSCI EAFE benchmark for international stocks rose 0.19%.1-2
THE LATEST TRADE DEVELOPMENTS
A broad selloff occurred Monday after China announced it would respond to increased U.S. tariffs by boosting its own import taxes on $60 billion of U.S. products. Friday morning, the Street breathed a sigh of relief as the Trump administration decided to delay 25% tariffs planned for imported cars and car parts; they had been slated to take effect on May 18. Just hours later, President Trump announced an end to U.S. tariffs on metals coming from Canada and Mexico.
At midweek, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin told reporters that he expected the U.S. to resume trade negotiations with China in “the near future.”3-5
Earnings Season Winds Down
The first-quarter earnings scorecard is nearly complete, as more than 90% of S&P 500 companies have reported actual Q1 results.
Stock market analytics firm FactSet notes that 76% of these firms have beaten consensus earnings-per-share estimates. Overall earnings for S&P 500 components have surpassed expectations by 5.4%. Both of these percentages are above 5-year averages.6
The market is quite sensitive to trade developments at the moment, and it is unclear whether this will be a short-term trend or a long-term influence on prices. While the U.S. prepares its next moves, China is also preparing its response to any new U.S. tariffs, which could include manipulating its currency.
T I P O F T H E W E E K
A small, but growing, percentage of companies now offer student debt assistance as an employee benefit. If you are looking for a new job and have outstanding education debt, research whether a potential employer can help you pay down your student loan balance.
THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Tuesday: The April existing home sales report from the National Association of Realtors.
Wednesday: Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s May policy meeting.
Thursday: April new home sales figures from the Census Bureau.
Source: Econoday / MarketWatch Calendar, May 17, 2019
The Econoday and MarketWatch economic calendars list upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision.
THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS
Tuesday: AutoZone (AZO), Home Depot (HD), Kohl’s (KSS), Nordstrom (JWN)
Wednesday: Analog Devices (ADI), Lowe’s (LOW), Target (TGT)
Thursday: Best Buy (BBY), Intuit (INTU), TD Bank (TD)
Friday: Foot Locker (FL)
Source: Morningstar.com, May 17, 2019
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Any investment should be consistent with your objectives, time frame and risk tolerance. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.
Q U O T E O F T H E W E E K
“Every great mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied.”
PEARL S. BUCK
T H E W E E K L Y R I D D L E
Can you name twoperennialvegetables? (That is, vegetables that don’t need to be replanted and can live on to produce in a future growing season?)
LAST WEEK’S RIDDLE: Name three words in everyday English that begin with the letters “dw.”
ANSWER: Any three of these five words will do: dwell, dwelling, dwarf, dweeb, and dwindle.
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1 - wsj.com/market-data [5/17/19]
2 - quotes.wsj.com/index/XX/990300/historical-prices [5/17/19]
3 - reuters.com/article/us-usa-trade-china/tough-talk-from-china-leaves-trade-talks-with-u-s-in-limbo-idUSKCN1SN207 [5/17/19]
4 - marketwatch.com/story/mnuchin-says-he-expects-to-go-to-beijing-to-continue-trade-talks-in-the-near-future-2019-05-15 [5/15/19]
5 - npr.org/2019/05/17/724357441/u-s-to-lift-tariffs-on-canadas-and-mexico-s-steel-and-aluminum [5/17/19]
6 - insight.factset.com/market-punished-sp-500-companies-reporting-negative-eps-surprises-in-q1 [5/17/19]