Stocks continue to bounce around in mixed fashion as “trade uncertainty syndrome” or TUS plagues the markets. Tech stocks fell today while energy and material stocks were generally higher. US independent oil and gas producers are benefiting from both strong prices and demand driven by rising exports and domestic consumption. At the close of the shortened pre-holiday trading session the Dow was at 24,174 down 132 on heavy trading volume.
S&P 500 firms payed $124 Billion in regular cash dividends in Q2, which is a record. Last year at this time companies had paid out $112 Billion which means that dividends over the past year have been increased by 11%.
Car sales for the second quarter were reported and they came in better than expected. Truck and SUV sales continue to lead the way while traditional sedan sales, except for Tesla, decline. Ford reported a 1.2% sales increase while GM posted a 4.6% increase and Fiat had an 8% gain led by sales of Jeep. Cox Automotive said results were good enough to allow it to increase its forecast for total vehicle sales this year from 16.7 million to 16.8 million.