Dow Slips, Boeing Gained—and What Else Happened in the Stock Market Today

view original post

The S&P 500 had its best month since November 2020 in July, gaining 9.1%.

Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

Stocks dipped to kick off August trading Monday after a wildly good July. Economic data are in focus this week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 46 points, or 0.1%, while the S&P 500 slipped 0.3%, and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.2%. The S&P 500 rose more than 4% last week, its largest weekly gain in more than a month. 

The rally began long before last week. Coming into Monday, the S&P 500 was up 14% from its intraday low of the year, hit in mid-June. The gains have been spurred by hopes that the Federal Reserve will soon slow down the pace of the interest-rate increases it is rolling out to curb economic demand and bring inflation down. 

“The markets increasingly reflect the belief that if a serious slowdown starts to build that central banks will pivot and ease or even reverse their monetary tightening plans,” wrote Louis Navellier, founder of Navellier & Associates.

A better-than-feared earnings season has also helped the market. While some companies have reduced their financial forecasts in light of the economic challenges, most are beating estimates and offering good-enough outlooks. The aggregate earnings per-share result on the S&P 500 has beaten expectations by almost 5%, with nearly three-quarters of the index’s market capitalization having reported, according to Credit Suisse. 

Corporate earnings this week include results from Activision Blizzard  (ticker: ATVI) on Monday, before BP (BP), Caterpillar (CAT), Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), PayPal (PYPL), Moderna (MRNA), ConocoPhillips (COP), and others in the coming days.

Earnings aside, the market will focus on economic data and its implications for monetary policy. The U.S. ISM Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index slipped to 52.8 in July, down from June’s result of 53. Slowing economic growth could mean slowing inflation—and less aggressive rate increases.

Friday’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is expected to show that the U.S. added 250,000 jobs in July, down from June’s result of 372,000. While markets want to see that U.S. companies are hiring, they wouldn’t mind seeing the pace of job gains decelerate, as it could validate the thesis that the Fed will slow down on rate increases. 

“As demand slows and supply bottlenecks improve, we should expect a corresponding slowdown in inflation during the back half of this year,” wrote Jeffrey Roach, chief economist for LPL Financial. “The Fed will likely respond with smaller rate increases in the coming meetings.

Here are some stocks on the move Monday:

Alibaba (BABA) gained 1.1% following an 11% plunge last Friday. The Chinese tech giant said that it will work to maintain its listings in both New York and Hong Kong, after it was added to a Securities and Exchange Commission list of Chinese companies that could be delisted if they don’t meet auditing requirements.

Boeing (BA) rose 6.1% after the aircraft maker temporarily avoided a strike at three plants that make military gear and U.S. regulators approved the company’s plan for validating repairs to the 787.

Nikola (NKLA) stock rose 7.9% after the company announced that it will buy battery pack supplier Romeo Power for $144 million. 

Global Payments (GPN) stock gained 4.7% after the company acquired EVO Payments (EVOP) for $4 billion. 

Target (TGT) stock rose 1.3% after getting upgraded to Overweight from Equalweight at Wells Fargo. 

Jeffrey Currie of Goldman Sachs makes the bull case for energy while Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics warns that oil prices are the biggest threat to the economy.

Write to Jack Denton at jack.denton@dowjones.com and Jacob Sonenshine at jacob.sonenshine@barrons.com