Equity Update - Domestic Stock Markets

  August 12, 2016

Major U.S. stock indices reached new highs in July as earnings reported for companies in a host of industries were better than expected, leading to upward pricing pressures.

The S&P 500 Index staged a powerful rally following the June 27 referendum vote in Britain, sending the index to new highs. Since the run, equity markets have been idle, as though it was taking a break. Analysts view such a “break” optimistically, since the health and sentiment of the market might very well be positive. Also of note is the lack of volume equity markets have seen this summer, with volume off about 15% compared to July 2015. Again, analysts see this dynamic optimistically since pending activity may be sitting idle until later in the year.

The Institute for Supply Management export data improved this past month, which has been a positive indicator for U.S. equity markets leading to reacceleration of earnings growth rates.

Small-cap stocks have outperformed larger-cap stocks since the beginning of the year, as earnings have exceeded expectations and low interest rates have made debt payments affordable. As of the end of July, 64% of the companies that have reported earnings had beaten estimates, a positive note heading into the second half of the year.

Sources: S&P, Bloomberg

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