Markets Mixed Amid Persistent Uncertainties…..

U.S. equities finished mixed, with the technology sector recovering somewhat following last week’s weakness, and as the theme of positive economic data continued after home builder sentiment jumped to match a record high. However, the persistent fiscal stalemate on Capitol Hill, simmering U.S.-China tensions, rising political uncertainty as the presidential election draws near, and COVID-19 case figures appeared to stymie conviction. Treasury yields were mixed, the U.S. dollar continued its recent descent, while gold rallied, rebounding after last week’s drop, and crude oil prices were higher. In other economic news, manufacturing output out of the New York region slowed more than expected in August. In light equity news, Dow member IBM announced a new next generation data center chip, Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com topped quarterly results, and Unity Biotechnology issued disappointing study results. Markets in Europe and Asia were mixed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 86 points (0.3%) to 27,845, while the S&P 500 Index rose 9 points (0.3%) to 3,382, and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 110 points (1.0%) to 11,130. In moderate volume, 745 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 3.1 billion shares changed hands on the NASDAQ. WTI crude oil gained $0.88 to $42.89 per barrel and wholesale gasoline added $0.03 to $1.27 per gallon. Elsewhere, the Bloomberg gold spot price rallied $40.01 to $1,985.13 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—lost 0.3% to 92.81.

New York manufacturing report misses, home builder sentiment tops forecasts as week begins…..

The Empire Manufacturing Index, a measure of activity in the New York region, fell more than expected to 3.7 in August from 17.2 in July, well below the Bloomberg forecast of a decrease to 15.0. However, a reading above zero denotes expansion.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Housing Market Index showed homebuilder sentiment in August improved more than expected to 78 from July’s 72 level, and versus forecasts to rise to 74. A level north of 50 depicts positive conditions. The index matched the record high level seen in December 1998 as the NAHB noted that single-family construction is benefiting from low interest rates and a noticeable suburban shift in housing demand to suburbs, exurbs and rural markets as renters and buyers seek out more affordable, lower density markets.

Treasuries were mixed, as the yield on the 2-year note was up 2 basis points (bps) to 0.16%, while the yield on the 10-year note ticked 1 bp lower to 0.69% and the 30-year bond rate was 2 bps lower at 1.42%.

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