Financial News and Portfolio Management Discussion through August 4th

US stocks posted their fifth consecutive weekly gain on solid earnings and economic news.  The S&P 500 gained 0.8% and the Dow ticked up 0.1% for the week.  Abroad, Japan dropped 0.8% and Europe was down 0.7% for the week.  The yield on the 10-year Treasury finished the week at 2.95% down slightly from the previous week.

US employers added 157,000 new hires in July falling short of the 190,000 expected.  However, May and June were revised higher by 59,000 jobs.  The unemployment rate ticked down to 3.9% from 4.0% and the labor participation rate remained steady.  Hourly earnings gains also were unchanged at 2.7%.  Article

The Trump administration threatened to raise tariffs on China to more than double the current proposed levels, bringing them up to 25%. China announced it planned tariffs on $60 billion is US goods, the majority of its imports from the US, if the US went ahead with its threat to place duties of 25% on $200 billion of Chinese goods. Article

Auto sales fell 3.7% in July.

At the conclusion of their meeting the Fed left the Fed Funds rate as is and continued to indicate the economy was performing well.  They indicated another rate increase is likely at the groups September meeting.

The Bank of England raised its benchmark interest rate a quarter percent to 0.75%, its highest level since 2009 in order to combat inflation.

Apple topped expectations driven by strong iPhone sales, posting their highest ever revenue.  It became the first US company to be worth $1 trillion in market value.

Wells Fargo agreed to settle with the Justice dept. for $2.09 billion over the sale of MBSs.



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