Week In Review: Rattled by the Lira
The S&P 500 started the week on a positive note, extending last week's winning streak and coming within 0.5% of its January 26 record high. However, the index struggled in the back half of the week, especially on Friday amid a sharp drop in the Turkish lira, eventually settling with a weekly loss of 0.3% -- its first weekly loss since late June.
As for the other major averages, their performances were mixed, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq climbing 0.4% and the blue-chip Dow dropping 0.6%.
Eight of eleven S&P sectors declined this week, with industrials (-1.0%), materials (-0.9%), consumer staples (-1.9%), and real estate (-1.9%) leading the retreat. On the flip side, consumer discretionary (+0.8%), information technology (+0.3%), and telecom services (+0.7%) were the three advancing groups.
In corporate news, Tesla (TSLA) rallied on Tuesday after CEO Elon Musk tweeted that he's considering taking the company private for $420/share and has already secured funding to do so. However, shares gave back nearly all of those gains following headlines that the SEC is investigating whether Mr. Musk's funding claim is truthful.
Meanwhile, on the earnings front, Dow component Walt Disney (DIS) slid 2.2% on Wednesday after missing quarterly earnings estimates, and Snap (SNAP) tumbled 6.8% during the same session after its better-than-expected results were overshadowed by a decline in daily active users (DAUs). This week's wave of Q2 reports was the last big wave of the Q2 earnings season.
The week was light in terms of economic data, but investors did receive some influential readings on inflation. The July Consumer Price Index and the July core Consumer Price Index, which excludes the volatile categories of food and energy, came in as expected, both showing month-over-month increases of 0.2%. On a year-over-year basis, total CPI is up 2.9% and core CPI is up 2.4%.
In short, the report showed that consumer inflation trends are running above the Fed's longer-run target, providing further support for additional rate hikes this year.
The Turkish lira took center stage on Friday, dropping more than 15% against the U.S. dollar. That drop, which comes after the U.S. and Turkey failed to reach an agreement regarding the release of American pastor Andrew Brunson, created concerns over the financial health of banks with heavy exposure to economically-struggling Turkey.
Out of desperation to stabilize the currency, Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, asked citizens to convert their holdings of gold and foreign currencies, especially the U.S. dollar, into lira. U.S. President Donald Trump responded by increasing economic pressure, doubling tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Turkey.
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