Morning Notes

16/05/2017 Argonaut Morning Note

U.S. stocks rose Monday as a jump in commodities prices boosted shares of energy and mining companies. U.S. crude oil rose 2.1% to $48.85 a barrel after top energy officials in Saudi Arabia and Russia said they would back a nine-month extension to a production-cut deal led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Saudi Arabia's Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said the pacts could continue until the end of March 2018. Energy stocks in the S&P 500 climbed 1%. Shares of mining companies also advanced on gains in base metals prices after Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged more than $100 billion in new financing as part of a mega-infrastructure project. The U.S. gold price also rose for the day, jumping 0.2% to 1,230.40 US$/oz.

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15/05/2017 Argonaut Morning Note

U.S. stocks edged lower Friday, as the latest batch of U.S. economic data fell short of expectations. The lacklustre readings follow a string of soft first-quarter data. Investors have largely brushed off signs of weak economic growth in 2017 on the rationale that the first few months of the year tend to be slow and corporate earnings have been stronger than expected. U.S. stocks are hovering close to record highs, while volatility has fallen to historical lows. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 23 points, or 0.1%, to 20897. The S&P 500 dropped 0.2%, and the Nasdaq Composite edged up 0.1%. The stocks that climbed were defensive plays. Utilities were the best performers in the S&P 500 on Friday, up 0.5%. The U.S. gold price rose 0.2% to 1,227.70 US$/oz. Earlier Friday, retail sales improved slightly less than anticipated in April, according to the Commerce Department, and a closely watched measure of underlying U.S. inflation came in soft, the Labor Department said. When excluding food and energy prices, the consumer-price index, rose 1.9% in April from the prior year, the first time it's been below 2% since October 2015.

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12/05/2017 Argonaut Morning Note

U.S. stock indexes pulled back intraday, as disappointing earnings reports put pressure on shares of consumer-discretionary companies. Major indexes initially headed toward one of their biggest declines of the month as retail stocks slid, then pared losses heading into the afternoon. Individual stocks have sold off following corporate earnings reports, but stock indexes have barely budged in recent sessions - a trend attributed to investor belief that the U.S. economy was on solid footing. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 31 points, or 0.2%, to 20912 intraday. The S&P 500 lost 0.3%, and the Nasdaq Composite shed 0.3%. Rising for the day, the U.S. gold price jumped 0.5% to 1,224.80 US$/oz.

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11/05/2017 Argonaut Morning Note

U.S. stocks hovered around the flat line Wednesday as a climb in oil prices boosted energy shares. Energy shares in the S&P 500 rose 1.2% as oil prices surged. U.S. crude oil rose 3.5% to $47.49 a barrel after data showed U.S. crude stockpiles fell more than analysts expected last week. Consumer discretionary shares in the S&P 500 slipped 0.5%. The U.S. gold price once again dropped, falling 0.2% to 1,218.80 US$/oz. Major stock indexes have gained in recent weeks as corporate earnings have exceeded analysts' expectations. U.S. companies have largely beat estimates, with most S&P 500 companies now having reported results, according to FactSet. With the earnings season now drawing to a close, some investors said the Trump administration needs to deliver on proposed tax cuts for equity markets to climb further. Moves were muted after the unexpected firing of James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, though some investors expressed concern that Mr. Comey's departure could stoke tensions between the White House and Congress.

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10/05/2017 Argonaut Morning Note

The S&P 500 edged lower intraday, weighed by declines in shares of energy companies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 26 points, or 0.1%, to 20986. The S&P 500 fell less than 0.1% and the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.3% after both indexes inched higher Monday to settle at records. The U.S. gold price also fell, shedding 0.4% to 1,221.10 US$/oz. Major stock indexes have risen the past few weeks as stronger than expected corporate earnings have helped offset a steep decline in commodity prices. With more than 87% of S&P 500 firms having reported earnings, companies are on track to post their highest proportion of top- and bottom-line beats in 13 years, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Data pointing to health in the U.S. economy may partially explain why major indexes have had few large swings in recent weeks, some analysts say.

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