Stocks Closed 1% Off All-Time High; Strong New Economic Data
Published Friday, August 20, 2021 at: 7:53 PM EDT
The Standard Poor's 500 stock index, the main growth driver of investor portfolios, closed the week less than 1% off Monday's all-time closing high, and the U.S. Index Of Leading Economic Indicators surged again in July. Meanwhile, the latest fundamentals, retail sales and housing starts data, remained very strong in July. Here's a two-minute update for investors.
This chart shows that the LEI has rolled over very definitively prior to recession – except for the Covid-19 recession, making it a reliable indicator of what’s ahead in the economy. The LEI’s surge since the Covid recovery began indicates no recession is in the outlook.
The Conference Board, an association for large U.S. companies, has measured the U.S. Leading Economic Indicators monthly since 1996 and the index is higher than since its inception.
“The U.S. LEI registered another large gain in July, with all components contributing positively. The Leading Index’s overall upward trend, which started with the end of the pandemic-induced recession in April 2020, is consistent with strong economic growth in the second half of the year,” according to the Conference Board’s economics research team. “While the Delta variant and/or rising inflation fears could create headwinds for the US economy in the near term, we expect real GDP growth for 2021 to reach 6% year-over-year, before easing to a still robust 4% growth rate for 2022.”
The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI), is comprised of the following component indexes measuring fundamentals key to growth in the U.S:
- average weekly hours worked in manufacturing sector
- average weekly initial unemployment claims
- manufacturers’ new orders of consumer goods and materials
- ISM index of new orders
- manufacturers’ new orders, nondefense capital goods
- building permits for new private single-family housing units
- stock prices as measured by the S&P 500
- Leading Credit Index™
- interest rate spread between 10-year Treasury minus fed funds
- index of consumer expectations
The Census Bureau’s monthly retail sales report is comprised mostly – 88% -- of sales of goods while just 12% of retail sales comes from the service sector. Retail sales overall contribute 30% of U.S. economic growth.
In July, retail sales ticked lower and some commentators say it’s a bad sign. However, retail sales are coming off a spectacular Covid recovery surge that had propelled retail sales to heights no one had expected. The 1.1% decline in retail sales that occurred from June to July was not so important in the context of the 15.6% surge in retail sales in the 12 months ended July 2021.
July retail sales excluding gasoline prices because of their volatility, are up +14.1% y/y compared to June’s +17.0% y/y.
In July, the U.S. government recorded 1.53 million housing starts, compared to 1.64 million in June. That’s down from a month ago but is still near a 15-year high. The U.S. needs about 1.7 million new single-family homes built every year and had been trailing that figure for 15 years until just before the pandemic. After plunging during the initial Covid outbreak, it has staged a comeback to its pre-Covid strength.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index closed today at 4,441.67. The index gained +0.81% from Thursday and is down -0.59% from last week. The index is up +66% from the March 23, 2020, bear market low.
Nothing contained herein is to be considered a solicitation, research material, an investment recommendation, or advice of any kind, and it is subject to change without notice. Any investments or strategies referenced herein do not take into account the investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any specific person. Product suitability must be independently determined for each individual investor. Tax advice always depends on your particular personal situation and preferences. You should consult the appropriate financial professional regarding your specific circumstances. The material represents an assessment of financial, economic and tax law at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events or a guarantee of future results. Forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. Actual results, performance, or achievements may differ materially from those expressed or implied. Information is based on data gathered from what we believe are reliable sources. It is not guaranteed as to accuracy, does not purport to be complete, and is not intended to be used as a primary basis for investment decisions. This article was written by a professional financial journalist for Advisor Products and is not intended as legal or investment advice.
- Amid Stock Market Turmoil, +2.3% Growth Projected In 2022
- Staying On Track Amid The Ukraine And Inflation Crises
- For Investors, 2022 Is Turning Into A Test
- Is The Economy Brightening? Or Is The Federal Reserve Slamming The Door On Growth
- Financial Economic News In Perspective
- Stocks Closed Lower This Week On Inflation Fears
- The Main Risk To Investors Now Is Federal Reserve Policy
- Service Sector Jobs Are Catching Up
- Stocks Returned +8.3% More Annually Than 90-Day T-Bills In Past 20 Years
- Perspective Amid A Moment Seeming Fraught With Investment Risk
- Two Years After The Pandemic Began
- Turning The Page On A Dark Period In History
- Russia-Ukraine War Erupted And Inflation Worsened But Outlook Drove Stocks Higher For The Week
- Investment Perspective Amid Risks Of Fed Tightening, Covid Variants, And European War
- S&P 500 Lost -1.9% Friday; Latest U.S. Economic Data Are Strong
- January Job Formation Figures Crushed Expectations, Amid A Shortage Of Workers
- S&P 500 Closed Up 2.4% Friday After A -10% Correction
- Stocks Declined Sharply, Even As Economists Expect 3% Growth In 2022
- Should You Care About Wall Street Stock Market Predictions?
- Weekly Economic Update For Investors