U.S. markets finished the week up as some significant indicators of the U.S. economy’s gross domestic product were released. Retail sales and industrial production showed some increases in June while housing starts were lackluster.
Retail Sales released by the Commerce Department increased 0.2% in June to $439.9 billion. This total was 4.3% higher than one-year ago. While higher for the month of June the report missed economists’ estimates which were for 0.5% to 1.3%.
Industrial Production released by the Federal Reserve showed an increase of 0.2% in June. This brought the seasonally adjusted annual rate to 5.5% for the second quarter. For the one-year period industrial production was up 4.3%. The June report fell on the lower side of economists’ estimates which were for an increase of 0.1% to 0.7%.
The positive reports for retail sales and industrial production in June further confirm that winter weather was most likely to blame for the first quarter’s GDP growth. Despite the signs of strengthening in retail sales and industrial production in June however, data from the construction industry showed housing starts slightly down.
Housing Starts also released by the Commerce Department were 9.3% lower in June than the previous month. In comparison to one-year ago housing starts were 7.5% higher. The 893,000 seasonally adjusted annual rate was below economists’ estimate consensus range of 985,000 to 1,085,000.
Markets remained trading evenly throughout the week ending slightly up with the DJIA gaining 0.90% and the S&P 500 adding 0.52%. Unexpected geopolitical turmoil roiled markets Thursday following the crash of a Malaysian jet near the Ukraine-Russia border. Janet Yellen’s Congressional speech early in the week also affected markets as she spoke of overpriced valuations in the biotech, social media and small-cap sectors.
Meanwhile, many financial companies, including DJIA components JPMorgan (JPM) and Goldman Sachs (GS), reported strong earnings beats during the week helping the financial sector. The S&P 500 Financial sector finished up 0.97%. JPMorgan was up 4.33% and Goldman Sachs was up 4.08% for the week.