S&P 500 E-Mini Futures Market News and Commentary
The S&P 500 ($SPX) on Friday closed down by -3.72 (-0.13%), the Dow Jones Industrials index ($DOWI) closed down -34.04 (-0.13%), and the Nasdaq 100 Index ($IUXX) closed down by -9.27 (-0.12%). U.S. stock indexes gave up early gains Friday and closed lower. Before turning lower, the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrials posted new record highs Friday on expectations for easier global central bank monetary policies. Fed Vice Chair Clarida said Friday that "the case for providing more accommodation has increased" and we'll act appropriately to sustain the expansion. Also, ECB President Draghi told European Union leaders Friday that additional stimulus will be required if the economy doesn't improve and a sustained return to the ECB's inflation target is threatened. Friday's U.S. housing data boosted home building stocks after May existing home sales rose +2.5% to 5.34 million, stronger than expectations of +2.1% to 5.30 million. Stock indexes gave up their gains Friday and closed lower, however, as investors remained cautious about US/Iran tensions since the U.S. could still launch a retaliatory strike against Iran for its downing of a U.S. drone even though President Trump called off a planned strike on Thursday for being disproportionate. Also, weakness in U.S. manufacturing activity weighed on stocks after Friday's June Markit manufacturing index fell -0.4 to a 9-3/4 year low of 50.1, weaker than expectations of unchanged at 50.5 and holding just slightly above the boom-bust level of 50.0. The VIX volatility index ($VIX) on Friday rose +0.65 to 15.40%, rebounding higher from Thursday's 1-1/2 month low of 13.19%. The VIX remains far below the 5-week high from June 3 of 19.75% and the early-May 5-1/2 month high of 23.38%. Big Picture U.S. Stock Market Factors: Bullish factors for the U.S. stock market include (1) the Fed's dovish shift at the June 18-19 FOMC meeting where the FOMC downgraded its assessment of economic activity to "moderate" from May's "solid" and removed its reference to being "patient" on interest rates, which produced expectations of a 100% chance of a rate cut at the July 30-31 FOMC meeting, (2) expectations for an SPX earnings growth of +3% in 2019, although that is sharply lower than 2018's stellar +23% pace, and (3) general strength in earnings and buybacks from the 2018 tax cut. Bearish factors include (1) increased US/Iran tensions on concern the U.S. could launch a retaliatory strike against Iran after Iran shot down a U.S. drone, (2) US/Chinese trade and tech tensions with the U.S. threat to place a 25% tariff on another $300 billion of Chinese goods, adding to the current 25% tariff on $250 billion of Chinese goods, and (3) slower U.S. and global economic growth.