Today in the Market – Wed 08/01

Powered by Apple Inc.’s strong earnings, the S&P 500 index was lifted higher at the open. Registering the day’s high at 2825.83 led by Technology and Financial stocks, the index reversed gains as investors remained cautious ahead of the closely watched FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) statement release.

Sentiment was further dampened on renewed trade tensions following news that the Trump administration plans to increase tariffs on Chinese goods valuing to $200 billion to 25% from the previously announced 10%.

The index fell sharply alongside the FOMC statement release, registering the day’s low at 2805.85 as the Federal Reserve signaled another imminent rate hike. Paring some of the losses as investors digested the Fed announcement, the index closed off session lows at 2813.36, down a slight 2.93 points and losing 0.10% over previous session’s close.

Energy sector led the day’s declines, losing 1.33% in today’s session. Oil prices remained volatile and closed lower after an EIA (Energy Information Administration) report indicated a surprise increase in crude output by 3.8 million barrels for the week, coupled with a decline in output. Chesapeake Energy Corp. led the sector decline, losing 5.72% after reporting a decrease in its revenue as a result of a fall in oil and gas sales.

Renewed trade war concerns weighed down on trade sensitive Industrials, Materials and Consumer Discretionary sectors. These sectors shed 1.28%, 0.97% and 0.44% respectively after the White House announced its plan to increase tariffs on Chinese goods valuing $200 billion to 25% from the previously announced 10%. Hanesbrands Inc. was the worst performer in the index, tumbling 19.32% after reporting disappointing earnings.

Other notable losers were Utilities, Consumer Staples and Telecommunications sectors, down 0.83%, 0.88% and 0.07%. On the other hand, limiting day’s losses were gains in Technology, Real Estate and Health Care sectors, up 0.97%, 0.70% and 0.05% respectively.

The broader Financials sector closed the session unchanged, reversing day’s gains after FOMC statement release. The Federal Reserve left the interest rate unchanged but hinted at an imminent rate hike next month citing strong economic fundamentals. The 10-year Treasury yields settled at 3.006%, crossing the psychologically important 3% mark for the first time since June.

Technology stocks continued their rebound, up 0.97% as Apple Inc. rose to record highs, gaining 5.89% intraday and nearing a $1 trillion milestone after the tech giant reported robust iPhone sales and a higher full year guidance. Real Estate and Health care sector also closed higher, 0.70% and 0.05% respectively.

On the economic data front, private sector employment added 219,000 jobs in July compared to the expected 178,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the Institute for Supply Management’s ISM manufacturing index came in below expectations at 58.1% in July as against the expected 59.5%. The fall was primarily due to the shortage of skilled labor and higher cost of raw materials.

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