The markets staged an impressive comeback rally on Friday, though the S&P 500 still declined 0.3% for the week. Several economic reports reawakened growth concerns and contributed to heavy selling, but the market was able to end the week on a positive note following decent employment data for September. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.9%, and the Russell 2000 lost 1.3%. The Nasdaq Composite increased 0.5%.
Five S&P 500 sectors finished lower, while six finished higher. The energy (-3.8%), materials (-2.5%), industrials (-2.4%), and financials (-2.2%) sectors posted big losses, as did the Dow Jones Transportation Average (-3.0%). The information technology (+1.1%) and health care (+0.9%) sectors showed relative strength. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index rose 2.0%.
This week’s market-moving reports (in order of release) included the ISM Manufacturing Index, ISM Non-Manufacturing Index, and Employment Situation Report:
- The ISM Manufacturing Index for September declined to 47.8% from 49.1% in August for its worst reading since June 2009.
- The ISM Non-Manufacturing Index for September fell to 52.6% from 56.4% in August.
- September nonfarm payrolls increased by 136,000 following upward revisions in August and July. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.5%, which is the lowest since December 1969. Average hourly earnings were flat.
The continued weakness in the manufacturing sector forced investors to reassess earnings prospects and premium valuations, especially if the weakness trickled over into the consumer-oriented services sector. As suspected, and evidenced by the data, non-manufacturing activity did slow down, but the ensuing selling may have been too much, too soon.
At one point, the S&P 500 was down 4.1% in less than three sessions. An opportunistic mindset took fold, likely contributing to some short-covering activity, to help the broader market bounce from a short-term oversold condition. The buy-the-dip momentum picked up after the employment report showed modest jobs growth, propelling the S&P 500 back above its 50-day moving average (2942) by week’s end.
Apple (AAPL) had a great week. Apple shares rose 3.7% this week after JP Morgan raised its price target to $265 from $243 and the Nikkei Asian Review reported it asked its suppliers to increase iPhone production by up to 10%.
U.S. Treasury yields continued to decline amid the growth concerns and growing expectations for the Fed to cut rates not only in October but also in December. The 2-yr yield fell 23 basis points to 1.39%, and the 10-yr yield fell 16 basis points to 1.52%. The U.S. Dollar Index declined 0.3% to 98.74. WTI crude dropped 5.6% to $52.78/bbl, further pressured by rising inventory levels.
Source: Briefing Investor