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July CPI Numbers Super-Charge Indices; Disney (DIS) Crushes Q2

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The Dow index zoomed past 33K for the first time in two months today, closing up +535 points or +1.63% — and it was the worst of the four major indices to report today. The S&P 500 celebrated its first up day in the last five, +2.13%, while the recently slumping Nasdaq generated a gain of +360 points, +2.89%. Surpassing the field was the small-cap Russell 2000, +3.02% on the day. Not bad for a day that started out with a new CPI print.

I say this because days that supply us with new Consumer Price Index (CPI) data have all sent us into a negative trading session over the past year. Certainly this says a lot for disappointing — sometimes shocking — CPI prints we’ve received over the past 12 months, but even when they’ve reported relatively indifferent results the markets have behaved badly. Clearly this all changed today, which was one of the best trading sessions of 2022 so far.

It’s too early to say anything definitively, but it would appear from one day of trading following one set of economic data, investors are now considering the Fed will lighten its interest rate increase from 75 basis points (bps) to 50 bps at its meeting next month. This would illustrate a draw-down after two straight months of 75 bps hikes, and would suggest the Fed may have already passed through its hottest crucible on its way to curb four-decade-high inflation. That said, we’ve got plenty of heat to endure from now until the next Fed hike on Sept. 21st.

If we can possibly stand it, there is actually more good news out this afternoon, and this is the Q2 earnings statement from The Walt Disney Company (DIS - Free Report) , which not only beat comfortably on both top and bottom lines, but did so in segments investors have long been waiting to see get to this point. Earnings of $1.09 per share surged past both the 90 cents expected and the 80 cents per share in the year-ago quarter. Revenues grew +26% year over year to $21.50 billion, surpassing the $21.12 billion expected.

Disney’s Parks & Resorts did much of the heavily lifting in the first post-Covid summer quarter, with both customer volumes and spending higher than estimates. While its Media Entertainment division did take a -$1 billion one-time hit in the quarter, Streaming surged past expectations, delivering 14.4 million subscriber adds versus expectations of 10 million. The company’s subscriber base, including Disney+ and its bundled streaming partners, has surpassed Netflix’s (NFLX - Free Report) for the first time.

Clearly Disney+ feels it has pricing power at the moment, as it is raising the price of its premium streaming service from $7.99 per month to $10.99, with an ad-supported version of the channel coming out later this year at a cost of $7.99 per month. Shares rose as high as +6% in late trading, though they have moderated a tad in the minutes since. This was about as strong a quarterly report as anyone could have expected from the entertainment behemoth.

We’ll see if we can keep the party going tomorrow or if we’ll suffer something of a near-term hangover. Weekly Jobless Claims are out before the bell, and have been growing notably on both initial and continuing levels, signifying some of the robust labor market demonstrated in last week’s monthly jobs report may be on the wane as the economy cools. We also see the Producer Price Index (PPI) out at the same time, also expecting to cool off from June highs.

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