Summary

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 indexes chalked up record highs on Friday after weak economic data dulled prospects of more interest rate hikes this year. However, a decline in financial shares limited the day’s gains, even though JPMorgan Chase and other large banks delivered quarterly results that exceeded Street expectations.

Four of the largest lenders exceeded analysts’ quarterly profit expectations by raising loan prices without paying much more for deposits. At the same tim, analysts said investors had wanted to see even better results and hear a rosier outlook from executives.

JPMorgan Chase was down 0.9 percent, while shares of Citigroup were down 0.4 percent and Wells Fargo fell 1.1 percent. Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley all are due to report results next week.

The S&P financials index, which benefits from a rising rate environment, fell 0.5 percent, and the group was the only one of the S&P 500 sectors down on the day. The index was down 0.7 percent for the week after rising 1.5 percent the week before.

Consumer prices were unchanged in June and retail sales fell for a second straight month, pointing to tame inflation and subdued expectations of strong economic growth in the second quarter.

Chances of a rate hike in December fell to 48 percent after the release of data, from 55 percent late Thursday, while the CBOE Volatility index closed at its lowest since December 1993.

For the week, the Dow was up 1.1 percent, the S&P 500 was up 1.4 percent, and the Nasdaq rose 2.6 percent. The Nasdaq’s percentage gain for the week was its largest so far, this year. The small-cap Russell 2000 index, which has underperformed the S&P 500, also ended at a record high.

Analysts estimate second-quarter earnings for the S&P 500 companies rose 8.1 percent from a year earlier. First-quarter earnings posted their best performance since 2011, according to Thomson Reuters. Earnings will be closely watched to see if high valuations are justified in the face of tepid inflation and a recent patch of mixed economic data.

Amazon rose 0.1 percent. The company has raised flags in Washington, with a Democratic lawmaker calling for a hearing on how Amazon’s plans to buy Whole Foods will potentially impact consumers. The deal, announced in June, marks the largest acquisition ever for the world’s largest online retailer.

Approximately 5.3 billion shares changed hands on the major domestic equity exchanges, as compared to the 6.7 billion share daily average for the past 20 trading days, according to Thomson Reuters data.

CPI Flat

Consumer prices were unchanged in June and retail sales fell for a second straight month, pointing to tame inflation that could diminish prospects of a third interest rate increase from the Federal Reserve this year. The soft domestic demand could also temper expectations of strong acceleration in economic growth in the second quarter.

According to a report released by the Labor Department on Friday morning the unchanged reading in its Consumer Price Index came as the cost of gasoline and mobile phone services declined further.

The CPI’s drop of 0.1 percent in May and the lack of a rebound in June could trouble Fed officials who have largely viewed the recent moderation in price pressures as transitory.

Policymakers are confronted with benign inflation and a tight a labor market as they weigh a third-rate hike and announcing plans to start reducing the central bank’s $4.2 trillion portfolio of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities.

In the 12 months through June, the CPI increased 1.6 percent – the smallest gain since October 2016 – after rising 1.9 percent in May. The year-on-year CPI has been softening steadily since February, when it hit 2.7 percent.

The so-called core CPI, which strips out food and energy costs, edged up 0.1 percent in June, rising by the same margin for three straight months. The core CPI increased 1.7 percent year-on-year after a similar gain in May.

The Fed has a 2 percent inflation target and tracks a measure which is currently at 1.4 percent.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen told lawmakers on Wednesday that the recent cool off in inflation was the result of “a few unusual reductions in certain categories of prices” that would eventually drop out of the calculation.

Last month, gasoline prices fell 2.8 percent after tumbling 6.4 percent in May. Food prices were unchanged after rising for five straight months. The cost of cellular phone services fell 0.8 percent, extending their decline amid price competition among service providers.

There were also declines in airline fares and prices for apparel, household furnishings, new motor vehicles, and used cars and trucks. Rental costs rose 0.3 percent, matching May’s gain. Owners’ equivalent rent of primary residence increased 0.3 percent after advancing 0.2 percent in May.

Retail Sales Down

The Commerce Department reported on Friday that retail sales fell 0.2 percent last month, weighed down by declines in receipts at service stations, clothing stores and supermarkets. Americans also cut back on spending at restaurants and bars, as well as on hobbies.

May’s retail sales were revised to show a 0.1 percent decline instead of the previously reported 0.3 percent drop. Retail sales rose 2.8 percent year-on-year in June.

Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales slipped 0.1 percent last month after being unchanged in May. These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product.

Tepid consumer spending and a moderate pace of inventory investment restricted economic growth to a 1.4 percent annualized rate in the first quarter. The Atlanta Federal Reserve is forecasting GDP to have risen at a 2.6 percent annualized rate in the second quarter.

Last month, auto sales edged up 0.1 percent after rising 0.9 percent in May. Receipts at service stations dropped 1.3 percent, reflecting lower gasoline prices, after declining 3.0 percent in May.

Sales at building material stores rose 0.5 percent. Receipts at clothing stores fell 0.1 percent. Department store sales tumbled 0.7 percent. They are being undercut by online retailers, led by Amazon. That has led to some retailers, including Macy’s, Sears and Abercrombie & Fitch to announce shop closures.

Sales at online retailers rose 0.4 percent last month after increasing 0.8 percent in May. Receipts at restaurants and bars fell 0.6 percent, the biggest drop in six months. Food and beverage store sales declined 0.4 percent, also the largest fall in six months. Sales at sporting goods and hobby stores decreased 0.6 percent.

Inventories Rise

A report by the Commerce Department on Friday morning indicated that business inventories rebounded during May as sales recorded their largest decline in 10 months.

According to the Department, business inventories increased 0.3 percent after an unrevised 0.2 percent decrease in April. Sales fell 0.2 percent, the biggest decline since July 2016, after being unchanged in April.

Inventories are a key component of gross domestic product. At May’s sales pace, it would take 1.38 months for businesses to clear shelves, up from 1.37 months in April.

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