Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. But stocks are selling off on…debt ceiling/debt default concerns. Gold and silver are mixed, while crude oil is a bit higher. The dollar and Treasuries are flat.
On the news front...
We’re all another day older. And in Washington, they’re deeper in debt...talks. But little progress was made in the last 24 hours, and markets let legislators and the president know how dissatisfied they were by falling yesterday and falling further today. Credit ratings agencies are waiting in the wings to downgrade our nation’s debt if no deal is reached and we actually see a default. The clock is ticking.
Mortgage rates continue to climb, with the 30-year hitting 6.69% in the most recent week. That’s the highest since March and not far off the fall peak just over 7%. That said, homebuilder shares have performed well lately as a lack of existing home inventory has pushed more buyers into the new home market.
Luxury builder Toll Brothers (TOL) just beat Q2 profit and sales estimates, helped along by a 10% rise in average price per home. Shares of the Pennsylvania-based company are up almost 27% this year.
Meanwhile, baby formula makers like Nestle SA (NSRGY) and Abbott Laboratories (ABT) are reportedly under investigation over alleged collusion. The Federal Trade Commission has requested documents related to rigged bidding for state contracts to supply formula to lower-income families.
Finally, when you go to sell a share of stock these days, there’s a decent chance it’s being bought by the company itself! Russell 3000 firms have announced more than $600 billion in buybacks so far this year, per Birinyi Associates. They repurchased $1.05 trillion in stock last year, the most on record. If the current pace keeps up through year-end, they’ll match or exceed that. Apple Inc. (AAPL) has been the most voracious buyer.