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Stock Market News for July 14, 2017

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Benchmarks finished in the green on Thursday, with the Dow posting its 24th record close for the year, on the back of gains in financials. Financials were led higher by increase in bank shares on expectations of strong upbeat second-quarter earnings from major banks. Additionally, increase in shares of Target led the retail sector northward, after the company raised its second-quarter earnings forecast. Moreover, energy shares gained due to uptick in oil prices as IEA raised expectations for higher global oil demand.

For a look at the issues currently facing the markets, make sure to read today’s Ahead of Wall Street article.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) advanced 0.1% to close at 21,553.09, posting its twenty fourth closing high for the year. The S&P 500 rose 0.2% to finish at 2,447.83. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index gained 0.2% to close at 6,274.44, posting an increase for the fifth consecutive session. A total of around 5.8 billion shares were traded on Thursday, much lower than the last 20-session average of 6.8 billion shares. Advancers outnumbered declining stocks on the NYSE by a 1.11 to 1 ratio.

Financials Surge

Financials were led upward primarily by gain in shares of banks ahead of the start of second quarter earnings results. Investors focused on the second quarter earnings season due to begin this week with major banks including JPMorgan Chase (JPM - Free Report) , Wells Fargo (WFC - Free Report) and Citigroup (C - Free Report) scheduled to report on Friday. Shares of almost all banks rose as expectations heightened that these financial behemoths would come up with strong second quarter earnings results.

The broader Financials Select Sector SPDR (XLF) advanced 0.6%, emerging as the best performing sector of the S&P 500. Some of its key holdings, including JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo rose 0.6% and 0.8% respectively. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Target Boosts Retail Sector  

Shares of Target Corp. (TGT - Free Report) advanced 4.8% on Thursday after the company raised its second-quarter earnings forecast. Target expects comparable store sales to increase “modestly” for the current quarter,” despite previous forecasts that same-store sales would be negative. The retailer pointed to improvements in the number of shoppers visiting its brick-and-mortar store locations. The company also expects profit for the period to top its own estimates. (Read More)

Gains in Target had a positive impact on the retail sector, which ultimately boosted investor sentiment. The broader Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) advanced 0.01%.

Energy Shares Continue to Gain

Oil prices moved north, following the release of a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). IEA’s expectation for global demand increased 1.5% this year to 98 million barrels per day backed by increase in consumption from Germany and the U.S. IEA also raised its estimate for 2017 oil demand by 0.1 million barrels per day, compared with its earlier estimate.

The increase in oil prices had a positive impact on the energy shares. WTI crude prices advanced by $0.59, or 1.3%, to $46.08 a barrel. The broader Energy Select Sector SPDR (XLE) rose 0.4%, emerging as the second biggest gainer among the S&P 500 sectors.

Economic Roundup

As per the Labor Department, seasonally adjusted initial claims for the week ended Jul 8 were recorded at 247,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week's revised level of 250,000. The 4-week moving average came in at 245,750, compared to the earlier week's revised average of 243,500.

Also, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand rose 0.1% in June against the consensus estimate of 0.0%. Further, core-PPI that excludes prices of foods, energy, and trade services also advanced 0.1% last month, which came in line with the consensus estimate.

Stocks that made Headlines

Tiffany Aims to Rev Up Sales, Hires Former Diesel Executive

Tiffany & Co. (TIF - Free Report) , which holds a significant position in the global jewelry market, took a bold step in a bid to ramp up sales by appointing former Diesel as well as Bulgari’s chief executive Alessandro Bogliolo as the CEO of the company. (Read More)

Molson Coors Inks Licensing Agreement with Hornell Brewing

Molson Coors Brewing Company (TAP - Free Report) recently signed a partnership agreement with Hornell Brewing Co., Inc., which is an affiliate of AriZona Beverages. (Read More)

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