Stocks today traded lower for most of the session with volume flat to down. At the close however the Dow gained 18 points to 18,419 while the S&P 500 Index posted a small loss. It seems everyone is waiting for tomorrow’s release of the August unemployment figures. Other than that it was a quiet day except for Elon Musk who’s Space X rocket blew a $400 million hole in his wallet when it disappeared in a ball of fire on the launch pad in Florida taking with it a Facebook satellite.
The U.S. banking industry just logged its most profitable quarter ever, according to figures from SNL Financial and S&P Global Market Intelligence. Earnings for the three-month period totaled $43.6B, compared to the $43.01B in Q2 of 2015, a 1.4% rise. On a sequential basis, the April-to-June period topped the previous quarter by $4.56B, an 11.7% rise.
Looking at what is happening in global markets, Spain is again without a gubment and facing its third election in a year after acting PM Rajoy lost a confidence vote. In South Korea, Hanjin shipping threw “ace duce” as Chinese ports seized Hanjin container ships in what is the biggest maritime shipping bankruptcy since the 1986 collapse of the United State Lines. Hanjin accounts for 7% of container shipping between Asia and the US. The South Korean gubment is rushing to help the company get out of its pickle but the shutdown could last a few months and affect shipping ahead of the busy holiday shipping season. Without shipping there will no shopping. Haha
August car sales figures posted declines as GM’s sales were off 5.2%, Ford’s sales were down 8.4% and Fiat Chrysler’s sales were up 3%. The sales figures, while lower, were better than expected.
While the consumer is happy and wages are up, manufacturing is hitting some potholes as the ISM manufacturing index unexpectedly fell to a reading of 49.4 from 52.6 in July. This ends five consecutive months of positive readings. Within the report new orders slipped 7.8 points, order backlogs fell 2.5 points and the employment gauge declined to 48.4 indicating modest staff reductions. The readings were the worst since January.