Stocks have wilted this week amid ongoing selling in the tech sector. But they’re up modestly in the early going today. Crude oil is higher, while Treasuries, gold and silver, and the dollar are trading around the flatline.
No, tech stocks can’t seem to catch a break lately...after a first half of the year where they could do no wrong. But Amazon (AMZN) MAY change the narrative thanks to Q3 profits that beat estimates, a 12% year-over-year rise in revenue at Amazon Web Services, and some optimistic comments on the firm’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) investments. AMZN shares dropped more than 13% in the last month, but are up nicely in the early going today.
Crude oil prices rose modestly after news broke that the US struck targets in Syria. The military said Air Force F-16s attacked weapons and ammunition storage facilities used by proxy forces backed by Iran. Investors are closely watching to see how aggressive Iran gets in backing Hamas and pushing other aligned groups like Hezbollah to attack Israel.
In other news, personal income rose 0.3% in September while spending climbed 0.7%. A core inflation number embedded in the report was right in-line with forecasts at +0.3% on the month and +3.7% YOY. Those numbers didn’t move the market needle much in post-data trading.
But economists parsing yesterday’s Q3 GDP report noted that the biggest contributor to the stronger-than-expected 4.9% increase was consumer spending. It accounted for 68% of GDP, with solid growth in both services and goods outlays.
The S&P 500 “Consumer Discretionary” sector ETFs are dominated by AMZN and Tesla (TSLA), so it’s worth looking at something like the Invesco S&P 500 Equal Weight Consumer Discretionary ETF (RSPD) to get a better sense for how the sector is performing. The short answer is...not great. RSPD is roughly flat on the year, compared with a 9% return for the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY).