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15-Sep2018

US markets end mostly higher with modest gains on Friday

The US markets ended mostly higher with marginal gains on Friday. Traders remained cautious following a report that President Donald Trump still wants to impose tariffs on China despite recent suggestions that tensions between Washington and Beijing were easing. As per a private report, Trump instructed his team to proceed with tariffs on about $200 billion more in Chinese products, despite Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's recent attempts to restart talks with Chinese officials. Separately, Hurricane Florence was making landfall on the coastline of the Carolinas Friday. According to CoreLogic estimates, wind and storm surges from the hurricane were estimated to cause property losses between $3 billion and $5 billion. The slow-moving storm was downgraded to a Category 1 storm, but still with forecasts for catastrophic floodwaters.

On the economic front, US retailers posted the weakest sales in August in six months, as only an increase in purchases at gas stations prevented an outright decline. However, the soft patch in spending is seen as unlikely to last. Retail sales rose a scant 0.1% in August. Street had forecast a 0.3% increase. Meanwhile, the import price index sank 0.6% in August, marking the second straight month and the biggest drop in 2 1/2 years for the cost of goods imported into the country, largely reflecting lower oil prices. A report on industrial production for August showed a rise of 0.4%, representing the third monthly increase. Separately, the confidence of Americans in the US economy and their own well-being rose toward the end of summer and stood near a 14-year high. Business inventories rose 0.6% in July.

Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 8.68 points or 0.03 percent to 26,154.67, the S&P 500 advanced 0.80 points or 0.03 percent to 2,904.98, while Nasdaq was down by 3.67 points or 0.05 percent to 8,010.04.


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