Market Commentary for the Week: 31 (30 July- 3 August 2018)

U.S. stocks closed higher Friday as July jobs data, although below expectations, still supported the belief that the economy is in an expansionary mode. Friday’s nonfarm payroll report came in below expectations as employers added 157,000 jobs in July, but the unemployment rate ticked down to 3.9. As expected, the Federal Reserve kept its short-term interest rate benchmark in the 1.75% to 2.00% range. Stock investors were focused on a slew of second-quarter corporate earnings reports that were released during the week. An escalation of the trade dispute between the U.S. and China seemed to have minimal impact on U.S. equity markets.

The S&P 500 and Dow recorded a fifth weekly gain in a row. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 0.5%, to 25,462.58, closing the week in positive territory.



The S&P 500 rose 0.5%, to 2,840.35, with 10 of its 11 sectors closing higher. Consumer-staples shares lead advancing sectors, finishing up 1.2%. The benchmark index booked a 0.8% weekly gain.



The Nasdaq Composite Index picked up 0.1%, to 7,812.01. The tech-heavy index ended the week 1% higher, rebounding after two weeks of losses in a row.  Apple ended the downward trend for the sector with a strong earnings report on Tuesday. The computer and device maker beat market expectations and reported a 40% year-over-year gain in earnings per share. Apple became the first company to reach the $1 trillion market capitalization milestone.



U.S. oil prices on Friday finished with losses for the session and the week on the back of growing global crude production. Concerns surrounding U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil, however, continued to provide some support. September WTI oil settled at $68.49, down 47 cents, or 0.7% on the New York Mercantile Exchange. For the week, the contract lost about 0.3%–down a fourth week in five.



Gold futures closed nearly 0.3% higher, to settle at $1,223.20 an ounce, but prices for the metal still suffered a fourth weekly loss in a row.



Bitcoin, the worlds more prominent digital currency, opened lower Friday and is poised for six consecutive daily losses, less than three weeks after it notched six successive winning sessions. After hovering above support at $7,500 for most of Thursday, bitcoin slumped to a session low of $7,290.02 in early New York trading.

Bitcoin futures followed spot prices lower finishing Friday in the red. The Cboe Global Markets Inc. contract finished down 1.9% at $7,395 and the CME Group Inc.’s August contract is closed at $7,370, down 2%.



Altcoins had a mixed Friday. Ether has gained 1.3% to $415.14.