Morning Notes

18/09/2018 - Argonaut Morning Note

U.S. stocks slipped intraday as fresh trade threats between the U.S. and China stoked caution among investors. Signs that the U.S. trade fight with China was set to escalate this week capped stock gains and sent the dollar lower. The Trump administration is planning to unveil new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, with President Trump saying Monday that he would make an announcement after the end of the trading day. Chinese officials have said they could pull out of trade talks if President Trump carries out his plans. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 93 points, or 0.4%, to 26062, extending declines after Mr. Trump said he would make his announcement later in the day. The S&P 500 was down 0.6% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.3%, hurt by a decline in shares of technology companies. So far, the U.S. stock market has managed to hold its ground and remain near all-time highs, in part because trade developments have been incremental and the economic impact on the U.S. has so far been minimal, analysts said. Even with Monday's decline, the S&P 500 is off less than 1% from a record. Shares of technology-focused companies retreated Monday, weighing on the Nasdaq. The US gold price advanced 0.7% to 1201.10 US$/oz.

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17/09/2018 - Argonaut Morning Note

Major indexes edged higher, notching weekly gains as some investor fears about an escalation in trade disputes abated. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 8.68 points, or less than 0.1%, to 26154.67. The S&P 500 ticked up 0.80 points, or less than 0.1%, to 2905.98, a day after the index notched its biggest gain in two weeks on Thursday. The Nasdaq Composite slipped 3.67 points, or less than 0.1%, to 8010.04, though it joined the other two major indexes in posting weekly gains. One driver of stocks' advances this week is technology companies, which had been one of the prior week's biggest decliners. This week, technology companies in the S&P 500 rose 1.8%, with the PHLX Semiconductor Index up 1.1%. Apple shares have risen 1.1% this week after the company announced a new lineup of mobile devices. Consumer companies declined Friday after U.S. retail-sales data showed American consumers reined in their spending in August, taking a breather after very strong sales growth in July. The data comes as U.S. wages rose in August, with private-sector hourly wages growing 2.9% from a year earlier, the fastest pace since mid-2009. The US gold price retreated 0.6% to 1193.10 US$/oz.

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13/09/2018 Argonaut Morning Note

U.S. stocks stalled intraday, with gains in consumer staples and trade-sensitive sectors largely offset by declines in financial and technology firms. The Dow industrials were recently up 0.1%, at 25,999 after previously climbing as much as 175 points. The S&P 500 remained unchanged, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 0.5%. Trade-sensitive manufacturing and materials stocks rallied on the latest signs that the U.S. is willing to compromise on trade. Freeport-McMoRan, Stanley Black & Decker and Boeing were among the S&P 500's leaders. Meanwhile, rising oil prices continued to lift energy stocks around the world, as traders weighed possible supply disruptions and a larger-than-expected drop in U.S. stockpiles. The S&P 500 financials sector fell 0.8%, hurt by falling Treasury yields that can portend lower lending profitability as investors weighed comments from a Barclays industry conference. And declines in semiconductor stocks led the broader technology sector lower, with the PHLX Semiconductor Index dropping for the fifth time in the past six sessions after Goldman Sachs downgraded the semiconductor capital equipment space to neutral from attractive. The bank also lowered its rating on Micron Technology to neutral from buy. The US gold price gained 0.7% to record 1206.10 US$/oz.

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12/09/2018 Argonaut Morning Note

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 100 points intraday, as a surge in energy stocks and Apple helped the blue-chip index overcome another flare-up in trade tensions. The Dow industrials rose 0.4%, recouping an early loss and putting the index on pace to snap a two-session losing streak. Shares of energy companies such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron benefited from a lift in oil prices, which jumped after an attack on Libya's state-run oil company raised concerns of a possible supply disruption. A humming U.S. economy has helped stave off deeper losses among shares of American companies. But markets in Europe and Asia haven't been as fortunate, as a combination of slowing growth and the specter of an all-out trade war have driven stocks down in Europe and Asia, so much so that Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell into bear-market territory on Tuesday. The US gold price added 0.2% to record 1,198.10 US$/oz.

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11/09/2018 Argonaut Morning Note

The S&P 500 rose intraday, buoyed by gains among industrial and technology firms, as investors looked ahead at a busy week for economic data. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2%, to 25,857 after notching its biggest one-week decline since mid-August. The S&P 500 climbed 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.3%. Technology stocks advanced after losses in the sector had dragged the NASDAQ to its biggest one-week loss since March. Chip maker Nvidia was up 1.2% and Advanced Micro Devices jumped 8%. Shares of industrial companies gave major indexes another boost, with United Rentals rising 5.3% and heading toward its biggest one-day gain in more than a year after the company said it was acquiring equipment rental firm BlueLine Rental. Later this week, investors will get a fresh look at the state of inflation and consumer spending, with data on producer prices expected Wednesday, consumer prices scheduled for release Thursday and retail sales due Friday.

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