The Markets (as of market close July 29, 2022)
July saw the stock market ebb and flow throughout the month. Sometimes the market reacted in response to news of some sort. Other times, stocks moved in anticipation of something that may happen. For instance, the latest quarterly corporate earnings reports generally have been better than expected, with about 75% of the S&P 500 companies beating analysts’ estimates. However, investors responded negatively following reports that a major retailer was slashing its profit outlook. On the other hand, traders moved to equities following a strong labor report early in the month. The latest Consumer Price Index rose higher than expected, indicating inflation was not close to retreating. Following that report, investors retreated from equities, anticipating that the Federal Reserve would accelerate its tightening policy and raise interest rates more than 75 basis points. In fact, at the end of the month, the Fed bumped up interest rates 75 basis points, as expected. Interestingly, the market jumped higher after the latest interest-rate hike. Investors replaced anticipation of an acceleration in rate increases with expectations that the Fed may not need to be as aggressive as some had feared. Nevertheless, rising inflation, which has led to multiple interest rate hikes, supply bottlenecks, decelerating gross domestic product, the emergence of new COVID strains, and the ongoing Russia/Ukraine war promoted fears of an economic recession. Yet, there is enough favorable economic data to offer some hope.