Equities take a Ride on the Global Stock Slide……

Domestic stocks traded lower, joining a global equity slump as global market participants remain uncertain about the prospect of a successful overhaul of U.S. tax policy. Treasury yields were lower and the U.S. dollar was mostly flat after recovering from some early pressure. In equity news, tech stocks led the decline and a cautious outlook from Target weighed on consumer discretionary listings. Crude oil prices added to a recent selloff and gold reversed to the downside.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) fell 138 points (0.6%) to 23,271, the S&P 500 Index lost 14 points (0.6%) at 2,565, and the Nasdaq Composite declined 32 points (0.5%) to 6,706. In moderate volume, 844 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 1.9 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. WTI crude oil declined $0.37 to $55.33 per barrel and wholesale gasoline was $0.02 lower at $1.74 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price ticked $1.79 lower to $1,278.46 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—was nearly unchanged at 93.79.

Retail sales and consumer price inflation roughly match expectations……

Advance retail sales for October rose 0.2% month-over-month (m/m), compared to the Bloomberg forecast of a flat reading and compared to September’s upwardly revised 1.9% increase. Last month’s sales ex-autos were up by 0.1% m/m, versus expectations of a 0.2% gain, and following the favorably revised 1.2% increase seen in the previous month. Sales ex-autos and gas gained 0.3% m/m, in line with estimates, and versus September’s upwardly revised 0.6% gain. The retail sales control group, a figure used to help calculate GDP, increased 0.3%, matching projections, and versus the prior month’s favorably revised 0.5% gain.

Sales gains were widespread, led by activity at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores, food services and drinking places, clothing stores, and auto dealers. However, sales declined at gasoline stations, building material and garden equipment stores, and at nonstore retailers, which includes on line shopping.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) ticked 0.1% higher m/m in October, matching estimates, while September’s 0.5% rise was unrevised. The core rate, which strips out food and energy, was up 0.2% m/m, in line with expectations and compared to September’s unrevised 0.1% rise. Y/Y, prices were 2.0% higher for the headline rate, matching forecasts, while the core rate was up 1.8%, above of projections of a 1.7% increase. September’s y/y figures showed unrevised 2.2% and 1.7% rises for the headline and core rates, respectively.

The Empire Manufacturing Index showed output from the New York region slowed but remained solidly at a level depicting expansion (a reading above zero) for November. The index decreased to 19.4 from October’s unrevised 30.2 level—which was the highest since 2014—with forecasts calling for a decline to 25.1.

The MBA Mortgage Application Index rose 3.1% last week, following the prior week’s flat reading. The increase came as a 6.3% jump in the Refinance Index was accompanied by a 0.4% gain in the Purchase Index. The average 30-year mortgage rate remained at 4.18%.

Treasuries finished mostly higher, with the yield on the 2-year note little changed at 1.68%, while the yield on the 10-year note declined 5 basis points (bps) to 2.32% and the 30-year bond rate decreased 6 bps to 2.77%.

Treasury yields and the U.S. dollar remain under pressure as risk aversion appears to be continuing, with the global stock markets pulling back from the recent rally. Fiscal and monetary policy uncertainties are countering a relatively positive economic landscape, though caution has ramped up following soft Chinese economic data as of late.

Schwab Center for Financial Research – Market Analysis Group

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