We continue to navigate our way through earnings season this week. With a little over 50% of S&P 500 companies reporting, it looks like things were not as bad as we thought they would be.
Equity markets drifted lower as stimulus talks continue to be pushed out. Plenty of headlines and no action has whipped the market around for most of the month. For the week, the S&P 500 was down 1.5%.
How to Measure the Market
Indexes have been a quick and relatively easy way for investors to track broad market performance since Charles Dow developed the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DIJA) in 1884.
Markets have traded off in the last few days after strong performance toward the end of last week. The turn comes as uncertainty increases around the timing of stimulus relief and a global increase in COVID-19 cases.
With less than a month to go, the anxiety surrounding the presidential election is reaching fever pitch. Reflective of the highly polarized political environment we currently find ourselves in, proponents of the two major parties are working overtime to convince voters the other side will have a draconian effect on the U.S.
News headlines whipped the market around, but equities found a way to finish higher on the week. The S&P 500 advanced 1.7% led by a 6.9% jump in small caps.
This week saw a strengthening housing market. In August, there were 1.011 million new home sales, which is 4.8% higher than in July. The expectation was for sales of 887,500 new homes.
Equities sold off again this week, taking their cue from weakness that began during the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) press conference. The S&P 500 was down 4.4%, while emerging market equities fell 3.5%.
It has been another week with no resolution in congressional stimulus discussions. The positive economic numbers we see may have led to a false assumption the economy is on better footing than it really is.