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Stocks Try To End Big Week On A High Note

FRIDAY – U.S. stock futures pointed to a little changed open on Friday following a record-setting session for the major stock indexes.

Around 7 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were unchanged but pointed to a gain of 33 points at the open. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures pointed to a flat open.

The small implied gain for the Dow comes after Disney shares jumped more than 5% on great earnings. Disney’s revenues for its media and networks segment topped estimates, while sales for the company’s parks, studio entertainment and direct-to-consumer businesses also beat expectations.

Stocks rose to record highs on Thursday after the world’s two largest economies reportedly agreed to remove existing trade tariffs, sparking a huge rotation into equities and out of bonds. The U.S. 10-year Treasury yield jumped more than 15 basis points at one point on Thursday, its biggest upward move since the 2016 election.

The increasingly positive tone around global trade put the major indexes on track for solid weekly gains. Entering Friday’s session, the Dow is up 1.2% week to date. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are both up 0.6% for the week through Thursday’s close. It would be the third straight week of gains for the Dow while the S&P 500 headed for its fifth straight weekly gain. The Nasdaq was on pace for a six-week winning streak.

On the data front, consumer sentiment figures are due out at 10 a.m. ET, as well as wholesale trade numbers.

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Stocks Slide, But On Track For Positive Week

FRIDAY – Stocks traded lower on Friday amid weak overseas data, but remained on track to post solid weekly gains after the release of better-than-expected earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 97 points lower, or 0.4%. The S&P 500 pulled back 0.3% while the Nasdaq Composite declined by 0.5%.

More than 70 S&P 500 companies have reported calendar third-quarter earnings this week. Of those companies, 81% have posted better-than-expected results, FactSet data shows.

Weak data from China weighed down the market on Friday.

Still, concerns over the state of the global economy lingered. Overnight, China posted its weakest growth in nearly three decades, as the U.S.-China trade war hit demand at home and abroad. The world’s second-largest economy grew 6% in the third quarter, less than expected, and its weakest pace of expansion in over 27 years.

Sentiment around U.S.-China trade talks improved slightly this week, however. Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday there is “a lot of momentum” to get a deal done.

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Stocks To Rise After Draft Brexit Deal Announced

THURSDAY – U.S. stock index futures rose Thursday after a draft Brexit deal was struck between the European Union and the U.K.

Around 7:40 a.m. ET, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 82 points, indicating a gain of about 70 points at the open. Prior to the Brexit reports, futures had been trading flat to lower. Futures on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 were also higher.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “we have a great new Brexit deal” via Twitter. He called on British lawmakers to back the deal when it’s put before Parliament on Saturday. Meanwhile, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted that the deal was a “fair and balanced” one.

Nonetheless, markets rallied on the Brexit reports, as the deal removed some investor uncertainty amid heightened concerns about the health of the global economy. On Wednesday, unexpectedly weak U.S. retail sales data fueled fears about a possible recession.

Global economic data points to slower growth, while the U.S. manufacturing sector is already contracting. Among the greatest of the worries plaguing markets is the ongoing U.S.-China trade war.

The latest weekly jobless claims figures, housing starts and building permits for September, and the Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s manufacturing index for October will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. Industrial production data for September will follow slightly later in the session.

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Stocks Start 4th Qtr Higher

U.S. stocks rose on Tuesday as Wall Street kicked off the final quarter of 2019.

Wall Street ended higher on Monday on the back of renewed optimism in U.S.-China trade talks. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Treasury said the White House “is not contemplating blocking Chinese companies from listing shares on U.S. stock exchanges at this time.” This relieved some earlier fears raised by reports last week that the U.S. has been looking at restricting U.S. investments in China.

Trade delegations from China and the U.S. are set to resume trade talks next week.

Furthermore, traders are looking to hear from the World Trade Organization. The institution is set to decide on an aircraft subsidies dispute that could allow the U.S. to impose tariffs on Europe.

On the data front, manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index numbers will be released at 9:45 a.m. ET; construction spending figures will be out at 10 a.m. ET, as well as the Dallas Federal Reserve service-sector numbers.

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S&P Posts Best Weekly Gain Since November

SUNDAY – Stocks posted strong weekly gains, led by tech shares, as investors cheered renewed optimism on the U.S.-China trade front on Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 138.93 points to 25,848.87 as Boeing shares turned around to close 1.5 percent higher. Boeing’s turnaround was sparked by a report saying the company planned to roll out a software upgrade for its 737 Max aircraft. The stock had been under pressure all week after an Ethiopian Airlines flight using a 737 Max plane crashed on Sunday, which prompted several countries to ground flights involving the plane.

Gains in the tech and consumer discretionary sectors pushed the S&P 500 up 0.5 percent to 2,822.48. Tech shares also bolstered the Nasdaq Composite, which climbed 0.8 percent to 7,688.53.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both rose at least 2.9 percent, though the laggard Dow gained only 1.7 percent amid Boeing’s troubles. The S&P 500 also posted its biggest one-week gain since November.

Stocks have been on a tear this year, with the three major indexes rising more than 10 percent each in 2019.

This week’s gains were largely led by tech shares, as the sector surged 4.9 percent. The tech sector also became the best-performer of 2019. Nvidia was the best-performing stock in the sector, rising more than 12 percent while fellow semiconductor stocks like Broadcom and Lam Research also rose sharply this week.

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Small Cap Stocks Lead The Markets Higher

Size doesn’t matter when it comes to US stocks, because investors seem to prefer small companies over big ones in 2018.

That’s a sign of the continued strength of America’s economy as small-caps tend to move earlier than later stocks whether up or down.

The Russell 2000, an index that includes shares of mostly smaller US companies, is up nearly 7% this year and is trading at an all-time high this week.

The Dow and S&P 500, both of which are home for industry giants like Apple, Disney, Coca-Cola and Boeing are up just 1% and 2% respectively. They are both still trading about 5% below their record highs.

Why?

To start, many smaller businesses in the Russell 2000 are growing their profits at a faster rate than the giants of the Dow and S&P 500.

Earnings for the Russell 2000 companies are expected to increase more than 40% this year and another 23% in 2019. That’s much better than analysts’ forecasts of a 20% jump in earnings for S&P 500 companies this year and 10% next year.

We see this continuing throughout the rest of 2018. Investors would be wise to consider smaller stocks as they tend to move higher faster when things are going well and lead the overall markets.

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Dow Briefly Up 100 Points

Stocks traded higher today, helped by a risingoil prices, following the release of the Fed’s statement.

Federal Reserve  Chairwoman Janet Yellen said in a press conference following the statement release that policymakers have not concluded inflation has seen a significant, lasting uptick.

The Dow 30  briefly gained 100 points, with Chevron, Caterpillar and IBM among the top contributors to gains. Goldman Sachs was the greatest contributor to declines.

Coming Up Later This Week:

Thursday

Bank of England monetary policy announcement and minutes

Earnings: Tencent, Michaels Cos., Intl. Game Technology, Lands’ End, Adobe Systems

8:30 a.m.: Jobless claims

8:30 a.m.: Philly Fed business outlook survey

8:30 a.m.: Current account

10 a.m.: JOLTS

10 a.m.: Leading indicators

10:30 a.m.: Natural gas inventories

4:30 p.m.: Fed balance sheet/Money supply

Friday

Quadruple Witching

Earnings: Tiffany

9 a.m.: New York Fed President William Dudley speaks

10 a.m.: Consumer sentiment

10 a.m.: Atlanta Fed business inflation expectations

11 a.m.: Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren speaks

1 p.m.: Oil rig count

1:30 p.m.: St. Louis Fed President James Bullard

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Are Small Caps Less Risky Than You Think?

Here’s a thing I like about small companies. In many cases, the people who run them aren’t just executives — they’re proprietors who took massive risks to build what exists today and who run themselves ragged to make sure that what does exist will be even better in the future. While I’ve met hundreds of extremely competent, dedicated executives over the years, there’s just something different about the person who scratch-built a company. To him or her, there is no such thing as a better employment offer around the bend. There’s no such thing as down time, or weekends, or even hobbies. This company is it. There’s no pushing ideas through some big committee. That person is the committee.

Maybe those kinds of companies sound a little risky to you. After all, doesn’t classic finance hold that, all else being equal, the smaller a company is, the riskier it is? Well, yes, on a company-by-company basis, those with smaller market capitalizations are riskier in terms of volatility and potential for total loss.

I believe, all else being equal, that this is insane in the aggregate. There is no reason that a portfolio of well-researched, quality small-cap companies should be riskier than one consisting of large-cap companies.

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Oil Drops, Stock Recover From Session Lows

U.S. equities traded in a wide range on Tuesday as U.S. oil prices seesawed and investors looked ahead to Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s testimony.

The small-cap/penny stock Russell 2000 index was lower by 1% midday.

WTI futures slipped 4.8 percent, or $1.45, to trade at $28.44 a barrel in choppy trading. Earlier, the International Energy Agency said that demand for oil will “ease back considerably” in 2016.

The S&P 500 dropped nearly 1 percent at the open, led lower by energy, before briefly turning positive.

The Nasdaq composite seesawed, opening down more than 1 percent, before reversing losses and gaining about 1 percent. The index sat lower in midday trading.

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