U.S. equity market indexes were slightly higher leading into the holiday weekend with the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq posting gains. Internationally, the Stoxx Europe 600 and U.K. FTSE 100 gained; Asian markets were mixed. This activity followed a lukewarm jobs report and a week of speculation over the next Federal Reserve rate hike. Oil dropped for the period and gold was relatively flat. The ten-year U.S. Treasury yield was unchanged from the previous week.
The August unemployment rate measured 4.9%, the same number reported in July. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 151,000, in contrast to the 180,000 projected by economists.
U.S. consumer spending was up 0.3% in July compared to June 2016, marking the fourth consecutive month of gains. Consumer confidence improved significantly, with the Conference Board’s index rising to 101.1, compared to 96.7 in July.
The National Association of Realtors’ pending home sales index increased to 111.3 in July, a seasonally adjusted 1.3% increase. This was 1.4% higher than the July 2015 number.
August auto sales disappointed after the prior month’s strength, estimated at 16.9 million units, below July’s 17.9 million.
The August ISM manufacturing index unexpectedly contracted, falling to 49.4 from 52.6 in July. The Chicago Business Barometer decreased 4.3 points in July to 51.5, down from June’s 55.8 reading. The U.S. manufacturing purchasing manager’s index (PMI) dropped to 52.1 in August after reading 52.9 in July.
The euro area July unemployment rate was 10.1%, its lowest in over five years. The August consumer price estimate for the area came in at 0.8% compared to the forecast of 0.9%.
The European Commission economic sentiment indicator dropped to 103.5 in August from 104.5 in July. The business climate indicator also decreased 0.36 points to settle at 0.02.
Mortgage approvals in the U.K. touched an 18-month low with 60,912 new mortgages approved in July down from 64,152 in June.
China’s manufacturing PMI came in at 50.4 in July, the highest reading in nearly two years. Retail sales in Japan fell for the fifth straight month and posted a July year-on-year decrease of 0.2%.
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