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KiplingerAug 14, 2020
Stock Market Today: The Rally Shows Signs of Vulnerability
Wall Street wobbled into the weekend as a few pieces of data tempered recently raised hopes for the American economic recovery.

Retail sales improved for the third consecutive month, up 1.2% in July - but the pace of growth has decelerated, and that figure fell below economists' expectations.

SEE MORE 20 Best Stocks to Buy for the Next Bull Market "Part of this could be because several categories have already recovered to their pre-COVID level of sales, leaving little space for a strong bounce-back," says Pooja Sriram, Vice President, US Economist at Barclays Investment Bank. "Part of this could also be a signal of moderating consumption in the coming months. Indeed, we see downside risks to consumption spending if additional fiscal stimulus is not forthcoming.

Moreover, a preliminary August reading of the University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment did improve, to 72.8 from July's 72.5, but remained at depressed levels far off the 90-100 readings of the past few years pre-COVID.

Further weighing on investors: The Senate adjourned through Labor Day without reaching an agreement on new stimulus measures, with both political parties seemingly miles apart and unlikely to reach a deal for weeks.

The S&P 500 yet again failed to clear its previous high at 3,386, declining less than a point to 3,372 to remain in bear-market territory. The Nasdaq Composite declined a modest -0.2% to 11,019, and the small-cap Russell 2000 slipped 0.1% to 1,577. The Dow Jones Industrial Average eked out a 0.1% gain to 27,931.

A special alert for Closing Bell readers: Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B) holdin


MarketWatch MarketPulseAug 14, 2020
S&P 500 ends week and day higher but fails to book record close as market succumbs to lack of fresh catalyst
U.S. stocks closed lower Friday and booked weekly gains, but trading to end in mid August suggests that it may be tough sledding ahead for investors hoping to find further gains, with the S&P 500 within a striking distance of its record close, as stimulus talks are all but dead and data point to a slow and fitful economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Economic reports, including unemployment claims and retail spending, continue to suggest the economy is recovering, but at an unsteady pace as the virus fails to submit efforts to quash it throughout the country. A report on retail sales in July rose 1.2%, and increased by 1.9% once stripping out for auto and gas. Meanwhile, second-quarter productivity jumped 7.3%, while second-quarter unit labor costs surged by 12.2%. Separately, a reading on industrial production rose 3% in July for the third straight monthly gain after sharp declines in March and April, the Federal Reserve reported Friday. Investors continued to wait for developments on a coronavirus relief package from Congress but lawmakers have broken for recess until Labor Day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 34 points, or 0.1%, at 27,931 and booked a weekly gain of 1.8%, while the S&P 500 index finished the day nearly unchanged at 3,372 but notched a weekly gain of 0.6%, ending Friday's trade about 14 points from a record close. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index closed 0.2% lower at 11,019 and logged a weekly gain of less than 0.1%. Tech stocks have been at the vanguard of the current recovery for stocks but have seen gains peter out in recent trade. Meanwhile, on U.S.-China trade talks, both sides have canceled plans for a virtual weekend meeting to assess their so-called phase one trade deal as it hits its six-month mark.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.


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