Charles-Henry Monchau

Chief Investment Officer



WEEKLY SUMMARY: Stocks down, Oil soars, Yield curve steepens

U.S. equities started August with a down week after closing out a strong July. Rising Treasury yields and an unexpected downgrade to the U.S. government’s credit rating weighed on sentiment. The Nasdaq suffered the largest losses for the week. On the corporate earnings side, Amazon significantly beat estimates and the stock rallied more than 8% on Friday. Apple was down about 5% after a mixed report as iPhone sales disappointed. Fitch Ratings on Tuesday downgraded the credit rating of U.S. government debt from AAA, to AA+, with the ratings agency saying its decision “reflects governance and medium-term fiscal challenges.” On the macro side, the US monthly nonfarm payroll report showed that employers added 187,000 jobs in July, which points to a notable slowing from the first five months of the year. The unemployment rate ticked down to 3.5% from 3.6% the prior month, while wages grew 4.4% over the 12-month period, unchanged from June. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note increased from 3.95% at the end of the previous week to almost 4.20% by early Friday but decreased to about 4.05% following the release of the jobs report. In local currency terms, the pan-European STOXX Europe 600 Index ended 2.44% lower. Higher U.S. bond yields and some disappointing European earnings reports deflated investor enthusiasm for riskier assets. In Asia, the Nikkei 225 index lost 1.7% while Chinese stocks gained. WTI Oil prices surged to $83 and are up for the sixth straight week.


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