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Markets Brief: As Stocks Hold Recent Gains, CPI Report Ahead Could Set the Tone for the Fed

Oil stocks fall as crude oil prices decline. Uber and Lyft rally on solid earnings results.

As stocks head into the middle of August, the market continues to hold ground gained since hitting bear-market lows in June. The Morningstar US Market Index finished the most recent week up 0.6% from the prior week, and has advanced 13.6% from its June 16 trough.

Jobs data came in much higher than expected, with nonfarm payrolls increasing by 528,000 in July, more than double estimates of 250,000. Unemployment declined to 3.5%, bringing it down to prepandemic levels.

Driving the biggest gains in the market were stocks from the technology and communication services sector. The energy and real estate sectors were down the most last week.

Solid earnings results from technology companies lifted their shares higher, including ride-hailing firms Uber UBER and Lyft LYFT. Meanwhile, declining oil and gas prices triggered a selloff for many firms in the oil and gas industry.

Next week brings more earnings from companies in cyclical parts of the market, including entertainment, such as Disney DIS and Fox FOX, and travel and leisure firms.

Investors will also be on close watch for upcoming inflation figures when the Consumer Price Index report for July is released on Aug. 10. Morningstar U.S. chief economist Preston Caldwell says the CPI report will be key to setting the direction for interest-rate policy in the wake of the strong July jobs report.

Economists are expecting the report to show inflation has peaked, which as of June, hit 9.1% year over year, a 41-year high. Estimates show inflation to have risen 0.2% in July, meaning an 8.7% inflation rate for the last 12 months ending in July, which would be a 40-year high.

Events scheduled for the coming week include:

  • Tuesday: Hyatt Hotels H, Intercontinental Hotels IHG, and Norwegian Cruise Line NCLH report earnings.
  • Wednesday: Consumer Price Index update for July. Walt Disney, Roblox RBLX, and Coinbase COIN report earnings.
  • Thursday: Producer Price Index update for July.

For the trading week ending Aug. 5:

  • The Morningstar US Market Index rose 0.6%.
  • The best-performing sectors were technology, up 2.6%, and communication services, up 2.0%.
  • The worst-performing sectors were energy, down 6.6%, and real estate, down 1.7%.
  • Yields on the U.S. 10-year Treasury rose to 2.84% from 2.64%.
  • WTI crude-oil prices fell 10.2% to $88.5 per barrel.
  • Of the 854 U.S.-listed companies covered by Morningstar, 468, or 55%, were up, and 386, or 45%, declined.

What Stocks Are Up?

The best-performing companies this past week were Bed Bath & Beyond BBBY, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals ALNY, Coinbase, Cloudflare NET, and Lyft.

Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft both rallied following positive earning news. Alnylam Pharmaceuticals shares rose following positive results in a study for its heart disease drug.

Technology and communication services companies led all sectors. Narrow-moat Cloudflare, which surged 46.4% for the week, and Atlassian TEAM both beat earnings.

Coinbase shares also popped following the announcement of a partnership with BlackRock to increase accessibility to bitcoin for institutional clients, The Wall Street Journal reported.

What Stocks Are Down?

The worst-performing companies in the past week were Ball BALL, I-MAB IMAB, APA APA, Syneos Health SYNH, and Core Laboratories CLB. Lower-than-expected earnings sent investors out of several stocks.

Packaging and containers company Ball beat sales expectations, but earnings were disappointing as demand slowed. Core Laboratories stock continued its decline after missing both lower revenue and earnings than expected.

Oil and gas stocks fell after crude prices declined 10.2% for the week, closing below $90 per barrel for the first time since Feb. 10. Among the worst performers were Patterson-UTI PTEN, and Helmerich & Payne HP.

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