Let’s call this the “Giving” season. The season for giving back gains, that is. Stocks are surrendering some of their recent, large advances amid concerns we’ve come too far, too fast.

Most other assets were recently trading a bit lower too, including crude oil, gold, silver, and Treasuries. The dollar was flattish.

On the news front…

Not even a week after US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken visited China to smooth things over, tensions are flaring again. President Biden referred to Chinese leader Xi Jinping as a “dictator” in comments yesterday, prompting Chinese officials to say that “seriously violates China’s political dignity and amounts to public political provocation.” As of now, China’s Foreign Minister is still planning to visit the US later this year, while Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is scheduled to travel to China.

If you didn’t see the news yesterday, US housing starts soared 21.7% in May to an annual rate of 1.63 million units. Not only did that blow away estimates, but it was also the biggest one-month jump since 2016. Building permits rose a smaller, but still-healthy, 5.2% rate.

Since permit issuance precedes construction, that indicates we’ll see even more units be added down the road. Builders are swinging more shovels because existing home inventory remains extremely tight. Buyers who CAN afford higher mortgage rates and payments are turning to the new home market for purchase options instead.

Some of the MoneyShow contributors I’ve spoken with the past few months are bullish on foreign stocks. They believe their more attractive valuations and the potential for stronger growth in emerging markets make foreign stocks a buy. But for now, the S&P 500 is still leading the way on the global stage.

The US benchmark is up about 14% in 2023, while the MSCI All Country World ex USA Index is only up 8.5%. Of note: Markets in China and Hong Kong are lagging those in Europe amid fears of slowing economic growth there.