INFLATION PRESSURE WEAKENS
The Consumer Price Index was unchanged in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That left its yearly advance at only 1.6%, nearly half a point below the Federal Reserve’s target (the core CPI was up 1.7%). After the announcement, some economists and market strategists wondered whether the Fed would rethink its plans for a third interest rate hike in 2017. The Producer Price Index rose 0.1% in June, leaving its yearly increase at 2.0%.
RETAIL SALES, CONSUMER SENTIMENT INDEX DECLINE
For the second month in a row, households scaled back their retail purchases – retail sales were down 0.2% in June following a 0.1% May decline. Core sales fell 0.2% after a May retreat of 0.3%. The University of Michigan’s preliminary July consumer sentiment index lost 2.0 points off its final June mark to a reading of 93.1.
A projection of rising demand and news of a pipeline shutdown in Nigeria sent the price of light sweet crude 5.2% higher in a week. WTI crude settled at $46.54 on the NYMEX Friday, its best close since July 3.
DOW ENTERS RECORD TERRITORY AGAIN
Friday, the Dow 30 notched its third straight record close: 21,637.74. At the same time, the S&P 500 also settled at a new record of 2,459.27. The Nasdaq Composite finished Friday’s market day at 6,312.47, a half-percent away from its all-time peak. For the week, the Dow rose 1.04%; the S&P, 1.41%; the Nasdaq, 2.59%.