Bulls Continue to Forge Ahead…..

U.S. stocks finished higher for a fifth-straight session, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq moving further into record high territory. However, conviction remained in check as a key speech on Friday from Fed Chairman Jerome Powell looms on the horizon. The rebound for stocks has come amid cooling concerns about the global spread of the Delta variant, as data suggests cases may be peaking and as the FDA fully approved a coronavirus vaccine this week. The economic calendar showed durable goods orders faded somewhat in July, and mortgage applications rose slightly last week. On the equity front, Dick’s Sporting Goods rallied after accompanying its stronger-than-expected Q2 results with a plethora of actions to return capital to shareholders, and Toll Brothers topped earnings estimates and offered upbeat commentary, but Nordstrom’s sales performance compared to pre-pandemic levels and margin guidance pressured its shares. Treasuries were lower, applying upward pressure on yields, and the U.S. dollar finished little changed following two-day slide, while crude oil prices added to a two-day rebound, and gold lost ground. Europe finished mixed amid some disappointing data in the region, while markets in Asia also diverged.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 39 points (0.1%) to 35,406, the S&P 500 Index gained 10 points (0.2%) to 4,496, and the Nasdaq Composite increased 22 points (0.2%) to 15,042. In moderate volume, 733 million shares were traded on the NYSE and 3.7 billion shares changed hands on the Nasdaq. WTI crude oil advanced $0.82 to $68.36 per barrel. Elsewhere, the gold spot price fell $16.30 to $1,792.20 per ounce, and the Dollar Index—a comparison of the U.S. dollar to six major world currencies—was flat at 92.86.

Durable goods orders report mixed, mortgage applications rise…..

July preliminary durable goods orders dipped 0.1% month-over-month (m/m), versus the Bloomberg estimate of a 0.3% decline and compared to June’s downwardly-revised 0.8% increase. Ex-transportation, orders were up 0.7% m/m, north of forecasts of a 0.5% gain and compared to June’s upwardly-adjusted 0.6% rise. Orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, considered a proxy for business spending, came in flat, compared to projections of a 0.5% rise, but the prior month’s figure was revised higher to a 1.0% increase.

The MBA Mortgage Application Index rose by 1.6% last week, following the prior week’s 3.9% decrease. The increase came as a 0.9% gain for the Refinance Index was met with a 3.0% rise for the Purchase Index. The average 30-year mortgage rate declined 3 basis points (bps) to 3.03%.

Treasuries were lower, as the yield on the 2-year note was flat at 0.24%, while the yield on the 10-year note rose 5 bps to 1.34%, and the 30-year bond rate increased 4 bps to 1.95%.

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