US stocks finish a volatile week noiselessly, with major indexes barely moving in a languid session, although it was marked by more of the kind of “uncertain” news and data points that are marking this summer. Stocks were demure today, but the week sure wasn’t, and the Fed’s acknowledgment that the economy is weaker than it expected seems to have clinched the change in sentiment about the economy and recovery.
DJIA slips 17 (0.2%) to 10303, down 3.3% on the week and busting up a three-week winning streak. S&P 500 eases 4 (0.4%) to 1079, Nasdaq Comp loses 17 (0.8%) to 2173. Once again, the major indexes are back in the red on the year. NYSE volume was a very light 3.2 billion shares traded, and we’d bet most of that crossed in the morning. By the afternoon, the market looked as disinterested as Lindsey Lohan at her own trial.
On the year, the Dow is down 1.2%, the S&P 500 is down 3.2% and the Nasdaq Comp is down 4.2%. I don’t have the data in front of me, but I know Treasurys are up on the year somewhere in the realm of 5%.
Crude lost 6.6% this week, the yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.69%. Euro fell to $1.2752, as the dollar gained 4.2% this week. It’s up 12% on the euro this year.
As UBS’ Art Cashin noted, the week represented a “downside reversal week,” which means the pressure for now at least is going to be to the downside. “That’s a negative.”
Reports this morning on retail sales, consumer prices and wages all just contributed to this feeling that there’s very little demand among consumers. Add in that auto sales looked good – on the back of incentives.
JC Penney posted a 2Q profit today, but the company provided a second-half forecast that was below Street views, and cited the same thing everybody else has: uncertainty. You know, the more uncertainty there is, the more certain you can be that things aren’t nearly as good as the boosters and cheerleaders would have you believe.
In this vein, I noticed that Macy’s reported earnings this week, and they looked good, and got people excited. I’ll tell you, I used to shop only occasionally at Macy’s because it was all overpriced – until about a year and a half ago. I’ve been buying my clothes there since then, and you know why? Because everything has been marked off at least 25%, and its easy to find things marked off 40%. How much of that can be considered some kind of sale when that sale price has been in effect for a year and a half?