Alaric Securities celebrates at Nasdaq MarketSite
January 26, 2018

Dow, S&P 500 Set for Records as GDP Reading Shows 2.6% Fourth-Quarter Growth

Alaric Securities

The Dow and S&P 500 on Friday extended trade to all-time highs after a reading of fourth-quarter gross domestic product came in slightly softer than expected but likely healthy enough not to derail the perception that the U.S. economy is on firm footing.

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar pared some of its early losses after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on CNBC on Friday said a strong buck is in the best interest of the U.S., and as President Donald Trump delivered a keynote speech at World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, highlighting the strength of the domestic economy and offering a moderated stance on international trade.

What are the main benchmarks doing?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA rose 64 points, or 0.3% to 26,447, briefly touching an intraday record at 26,467.31, while S&P 500 index SPX climbed 8 points, or 0.3%, to 2,847. The technology-laden Nasdaq Composite Index NQH8 climbed 24 points, or 0.3%, to 7,435.

On Thursday, the Dow rose 140.67 points to end at 26,392.79 on Thursday and the S&P 500 edged up 1.71 points to 2,839.25. The Nasdaq Composite Index meanwhile, declined 3.89 points to 7,411.16.

For the week, the Dow is looking at a gain of 1.5%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are looking at a rise of around 1.4% each.

What are the drivers for the markets?

Consumers and businesses powered the economy to a 2.6% rate of growth in the final three months of 2017, but declining inventories and a wider trade deficit kept the U.S. from hitting the 3% mark for the third quarter in a row for the first time in 13 years.

Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a 3% increase in gross domestic product, the official scorecard for the U.S. economy.

Still, the reading may be viewed as healthy enough to maintain what has been a mostly bullish run for U.S. equities, amid better-than-expected corporate results and expectations for a pro-business legislative regime under Trump.

What are strategists saying?

Ian Winer, head of equities at Wedbush Securities, said the fourth-quarter reading of GDP is solid enough to keep markets riding higher, combined with corporate tax cuts that are still being interpreted by Wall Street.

“I think clearly on the headline it’s slightly disappointing but I think people who believe in the president and the tax reform and all that stuff aren’t all that concerned with Q4 gross domestic product,” Winer said. “I think the bull case is still in place,” he said.

He also said the GDP reading may make the Federal Reserve less likely to adopt a more hawkish posture and lift interest rates at a more accelerated pace than the three SBUXNKEhikes expected this year.

Which stocks look like key movers?

Honeywell International Inc. HON reported Friday a fourth-quarter net loss of $2.41 billion, or $3.18 a share, compared with a profit of $1.03 billion, or $1.34 a share, in the same period a year ago. Its shares were up less than 0.1%

Colgate-Palmolive Co. CL shares fell 4.8% after the company reported fourth-quarter results that were weaker than forecast.

Intel Corp. INTC jumped 8% in premarket trading after the chip maker’s earnings topped Wall Street expectations late Thursday.

Shares of Starbucks Corp. SBUX were down 4.6% after reporting same-store sales below expectations and missing sales forecasts late Thursday.

VMware Inc.’s stock VMW was up 6.5% after The Wall Street Journal reported that Dell Inc. could be exploring a deal to buy the cloud computing company. Dell may also be considering an IPO, the article said.

Nike Inc . NKE shares rose 1.1% after a report that William Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management LP has taken a stake in the athletic-gear maker.

Starbucks Corp. SBUX shares were down 4.7% after the company reported same-store sales below expectations and narrowly missed sales forecasts.

What are other assets doing?

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY fell 0.3% to 89.08, resuming a move lower but paring some its worst levels after Mnuchin’s comments. Still, the buck is on track for the biggest weekly loss since May last year, according to FactSet.

Gold futures GCG8 were falling firmly, while oil futures CLH8 were roughly flat. European stocks SXXP meanwhile, rose modestly, while Asian markets closed mixed.

Article originally published by Mark DeCambre and Barbara Kollmeyer at