The Dow closed down 37 points at 18,576. Trading volume was lower. The NASDAQ posted a small gain on heavier volume indicating strength in tech shares. For the week the Dow gained about 32 points or 0.17% and remains just under an all-time high even while boat loads of cash continues to sit on the sidelines.
While hiking the Chilkoot trail in Alaska it was learned that John Nordstrom took part in the 1897 Klondike gold rush and made $13,000 after he and his partner sold their mining stake. John returned to Seattle and started a shoe store which eventualy became the “Nordstrom’s” that we all know and love today. With this background information, Nordstrom’s reported its Q2 numbers and the bottom line fell 28% but still exceeded expectations while revenue fell a bit short with a 1% decline. Nordstrom’s sales were benefitted by its 100th anniversary sale. Going forward Nordstrom’s was very positive on its outlook and feels stronger job creation and rising wages will be good for business. Shares were higher after the report.
Retail sales for July were reported by the US Commerce Dept. and they came in well below expectations with a 0.4% gain for the month of July and 2.3% for the year-over-year increase. Non-store retailers aka Amazon, continue to grow at a faster rate rising 1.3% for the month and 14.1% yoy. The data shows a US consumer that is spending but not at a hog wild pace since wage growth and lower energy costs are being offset by concerns over rising healthcare expenses and local taxes. In Seattle for example property taxes are much hgher and the head waitress lady at a local eatery near fisherman’s terminal told me that traffic in the 2 months when property taxes are due drops like a crab pot.
Oil continued to rally and closed at a 3 week high of $44.67 per barrel. The gurus feel that oil will be stuck in the $42 to $48 range as slow global demand growth is balanced out with rising production in Iran and the US which, while it has cut the rig count dramatically, could still quickly ramp up production on any price spike.
Gold finished the day at $1,341 off $8.80 per ounce. The US dollar had pulled back but then found support late in the day.