U.S. equities post mixed weekly results with inflation in focus

(Xinhua) 11:15, August 15, 2021

NEW YORK, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- Wall Street's major averages posted mixed results for the week as investors parsed inflation readings.

For the week ending Friday, the Dow rose 0.9 percent, and the S&P 500 advanced 0.7 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite fell 0.1 percent.

The S&P U.S. Listed China 50 index, which is designed to track the performance of the 50 largest Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges by total market cap, logged a weekly decline of 3.3 percent.

Inflation may be the most closely-watched economic metric in 2021, and the July U.S. readings were released this week.

The U.S. Producer Price Index (PPI) rose 1.0 percent in July, showed a report by the Labor Department on Thursday, well above the 0.6-percent consensus.

Excluding volatile food, trade services and energy components, the PPI increased 0.9 percent last month, the largest advance after climbing 1.0 percent in January.

The data came one day after the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report showing the so-called core CPI, which excludes energy and food, rose 0.3 percent last month for a 4.3-percent year-over-year increase.

"There are still pressures in supply chains as producers race to keep up with demand," said Chris Low and Will Compernolle, economists at FHN Financial.

"The connection between PPI and CPI is not always straight or immediate, but higher producer prices influence consumer prices. This won't prevent inflation from eventually cooling, but it may mean inflation will be higher and more persistent," they said.

Meanwhile, data showed the number of open jobs in the U.S. economy pushed to a new record high in June and now outnumbers the unemployed. Unfilled job openings increase by 590,000 in June to reach a total of 10.1 million, which is the highest level since the Labor Department started keeping records in 2000.

U.S. initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, registered 375,000 in the week ending Aug. 7, a decrease of 12,000 from the previous week's revised level. The reading was in line with market estimates.

On another data front, the preliminary estimate of the consumer sentiment index released Friday by the University of Michigan came in at 70.2 in August, down from 81.2 in July.

Investors were also assessing the impact of a resurgence in COVID-19 infections as the pandemic continues in the United States, with the Delta variant in a sustained uptrend and hospitalizations on the rise.

The average daily increase of cases in the United States was over 116,500 in the seven-day period ending Thursday, compared with a seven-day average of around 23,600 daily cases a month ago, according to the latest data compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(Web editor: Guo Wenrui, Bianji)


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