Morning Notes

02/02/2017 Argonaut Morning Note

A surge in U.S. technology stocks boosted U.S. markets as the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged higher Wednesday. Some investors and analysts said solid economic data and improved corporate earnings were driving gains, marking a return to fundamentals after concerns about political conflict helped send markets lower in recent sessions. Technology shares were among the biggest gainers in the S&P 500. Tech's gains also boosted the Nasdaq Composite, which has outperformed its peers in 2017 after lagging in 2016. Utility stocks in the S&P 500 pared early-session losses after the Federal Reserve's policy statement left interest rates unchanged and offered little sign of when the central bank might next raise rates.

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01/02/2017 Argonaut Morning Note

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped again in intraday trading, a sign that investors' postelection optimism could be waning. The stock-market rally that catapulted the Dow industrials over 20,000 last week has stalled in recent sessions, with investors backing away from shares of financial and industrial companies while picking up havens like gold. Some investors and analysts said President Donald Trump's move to restrict immigration and the pushback it received had tempered risk appetite at the end of an otherwise strong month for stocks. Market enthusiasm in the wake of the U.S. election was deflated by President Trump's executive order Friday restricting immigration from seven countries, triggering legal challenges and protests and leading to the firing of Acting Attorney General Sally Yates. Recent earnings results also hurt shares of some big companies. Paul Hatfield, global chief investment officer at Alcentra, said recent U.S. policy changes had "caught people on the hop...turning what was a pause for breath into a more defensive stance." Despite the week's setbacks, major indexes remain on track to end the month higher, which would be their first January gains since 2013.

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31/01/2017 Argonaut Morning Note

U.S. stocks tumbled Monday, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 150 points in what was shaping up to be its worst day since the election. All 11 major sectors of the S&P 500 fell -- broad declines that contrasted with a stock market that has been generally buoyant since Election Day. After the Dow crossed 20,000 and major indexes hit records last week, President Donald Trump's move to restrict immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries deflated some of the market's optimism, some analysts and investors said. Airlines and technology firms were among Monday's biggest decliners. Financial shares, which have helped lead the rally since Election Day, also slumped. Stocks pared some of their earlier declines, but the Dow Jones Industrial Average was still on track for its biggest drop since Oct. 11. Expectations for stock swings increased, following a relatively tranquil stretch. The CBOE Volatility Index, or VIX, rose 16% to 12.22. On Friday, Wall Street's "fear gauge" closed at 10.58, its lowest level since 2014. Mr. Trump's executive order on immigration Friday spawned legal challenges, congressional criticism and widespread protests. The prospect of protectionist measures and conflict in Washington could cloud the path for pro-business initiatives like corporate tax reform and fiscal spending, which investors have been betting on since Election Day.

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30/01/2017 Argonaut Morning Note

The Dow industrials and S&P 500 slipped Friday but notched gains for the week on stronger-than-expected earnings and fresh policy signals from the new U.S. administration. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ticked down 7.1 points, or less than 0.1%, to 20,094, while the S&P slipped 0.1% and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.1%. All three indexes gained more than 1% for the week. Global stocks remain on track to end the week higher after the Dow industrials closed above the 20,000 mark for the first time ever and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both climbed to record highs. The VIX, considered Wall Street's "fear gauge," hit a more than two-year low this week as signs of an improving global economy and business-friendly policies in the U.S. have helped support risk appetite. Gross domestic product expanded at an inflation, and seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.9% in the final three months of 2016, the Commerce Department said Friday. Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected a 2.2% growth rate. In addition, demand for long-lasting manufactured goods declined in December.

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27/01/2017 Argonaut Morning Note

The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged higher intraday, extending gains after it closed above 20000 for the first time ever. Moves in major indexes were muted, with the S&P 500 flipping between slight gains and losses for much of the day after indexes surged to a trifecta of records in the previous session. While shares of financial companies ticked higher, putting the Dow industrials on course to post a fresh closing high, declines in shares of health-care and tech companies kept other broad indexes under pressure. Many investors say they remain optimistic but cautious about the path forward for U.S. stocks, as they weigh the potential benefits of regulatory rollbacks under President Donald Trump against the possibility of protectionist policies, which some have said could crimp corporate growth. Mr. Trump on Thursday sent Twitter messages putting pressure on Mexico to pay for a wall he wants built on the border.

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