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Stock Market News for August 28, 2017

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Markets ended in positive territory on Friday after speeches from Janet Yellen and Mario Draghi, at Jackson Hole failed to throw light on the future of global monetary policy. Consequently, economists concluded that there rate hikes were unlikely in the near future. Encouraging comments from the U.S. and global economy from Yellen and Draghi, respectively, also boosted investor sentiment. In an interview on Friday, Gary Cohn the Chief Economic Advisor announced that Trump would start campaigning for tax reforms from next week in Missouri. This added to gains for the markets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed at 21,813.67, gaining 0.1% or 30.27 points. The S&P 500 Index (INX) increased 0.2% or 4.08 points to close at 2,443.05. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index (IXIC) closed at 6,265.64, declining 5.68 points or 0.1%. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 2.47-to-1 ratio.  On the Nasdaq, advancers outnumbered decliners by a 1.59-to-1 ratio.

Jackson Hole Offers No Clue on Rate Hikes

Markets closed mostly higher on Friday following Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi’s speeches at Jackson Hole. None of the speakers revealed any details about the future of monetary policy. While Yellen spoke mostly about economic improvements in the US, Draghi spoke about the global recovery gaining pace. Yellen also said that the overall economy has become much safer now. This boosted investor sentiment, leading to gains for the market.

Yellen’s speech was closely observed by financial markets as investors were expecting her to throw some light on possible rate hikes and other monetary policy moves. Instead, she chose to focus on the history of the global crisis and the way policymakers have responded to subsequent challenges. "The events of the crisis demanded action, needed reforms were implemented, and these reforms have made the system safer," Yellen said.

Industry watchers found the speeches to be defensive and also said they expect no rate hikes in the near future as the dollar remains weak and the rate of inflation is well below the target rate of 2%. However, Yellen did hint at risks related to excessive optimism. Economists concluded from this statement that there may a rate hike was likely around December.

Trump To Begin Campaigning For Tax Reforms Next Week

In an interview to Financial Times, Chief Economic Advisor to President Trump, Gary Cohn said Trump would begin campaigning for tax reforms from next week. Trump’s campaign would begin next Wednesday in Missouri.

"Starting next week, the president's agenda and calendar is going to revolve around tax reform," said Cohn in an interview. "He will start being on the road making major addresses justifying the reasoning for tax reform and why we need it in the U.S.," he added.

Tax reforms have been the linchpin for Trump’s agenda, supported by all the members of the GOP.  Cohn also said the administration does not have a detailed plan for tax reforms. Instead it plans to leave such matters to the concerned Congressional committee. However, the Trump administration wants Congress to include one-time corporate tax repatriation on overseas profits in any new legislation.

Weekly Results

For the week, the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq, gained 0.6%, 0.7% and 0.8% respectively. As geopolitical tensions between Pyongyang and Washington subsided, investor sentiment was boosted, leading to gains for the market. Also, investors were reluctant to place large bets markets as they awaited results of the Jackson Hole Symposium to be known.

Moreover, the cornerstone of Trump’s presidential campaign, tax reforms, finally gained momentum and the members of the GOP showed faith in the administration’s ability to push through such reforms. However, Trump’s threat to shutdown the government in case $1.6 million for a physical wall along the US-Mexico border was not approved weighed on the markets.

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