S&P 500 VIX Futures Market News and Commentary
The S&P 500 ($SPX) on Friday closed down -16.79 (-0.58%), the Dow Jones Industrials index ($DOWI) closed down -98.68 (-0.38%), and the Nasdaq 100 Index ($IUXX) closed down -76.46 (-1.01%). U.S. stock indexes moved lower Friday after China signaled a lack of interest in resuming trade talks due to the current U.S. threat to raise tariffs on the remaining $300 billion of Chinese goods. Also, weakness in industrial stocks, led by a -7% slide in Deere & Co, led the overall market lower after Deere reported Q2 adjusted EPS of $3.52, below consensus of $3.62 and the sixth straight quarterly earnings miss. Deere also cut its full-year income forecast to $3.3 billion from a prior view of $3.6 billion. In addition, carry-over weakness from a slide in European stocks weighed on U.S. stock indexes on the increased odds for an eventual no-deal Brexit after a UK government spokesman said talks with the opposition Labour party had ended without reaching a Brexit deal, which likely ended Prime Minister May's hopes for getting her Brexit plan approved with a Parliamentary vote in early June. Prime Minister May on Thursday bowed to heavy party pressure to resign and agreed to provide a timetable in June for her resignation regardless of whether her Brexit plan is approved by Parliament in June. That will likely pave the way for a harder-line Brexit leader to take control of the Brexit process such as Boris Johnson. U.S. stock indexes recovered some of their losses Friday on strength in Friday's economic data. The University of Michigan U.S. May consumer sentiment rose +5.2 to a 15-1/4 year high of 102.4, stronger than expectations of unchanged at 97.2. Also, U.S. Apr leading indicators rose +0.2%, right on expectations and the third straight monthly increase. After falling to a 1-1/2 week low Friday, the VIX volatility moved up by +0.67 points at a 15.96, but remained well below last Thursday's 4-1/4 month high of 23.38%. Big Picture U.S. Stock Market Factors: Bullish factors for the U.S. stock market include (1) expectations for SPX earnings growth of +3% in 2019, although that is sharply lower than 2018's stellar +23% pace, (2) market expectations for at least one rate cut through the end of 2020, and (3) general strength in earnings and buybacks after the 2018 tax cut. Bearish factors include (1) escalation of the US/China trade conflict after the U.S. on May 10 raised tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25% from 10% and China retaliated on May 13 by boosting tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods, (2) slower U.S. and global economic growth, (3) the Fed-dot forecast for one more rate hike in 2020, and (4) the recent 2-year high in the dollar index.