Aug. 1, 2017

July saw Wall Street close out one of its strongest months of 2017 with yet another gain and driving benchmarks further into record territory. The strong performance was in large part due to gains in technology stocks.

This week marks the beginning of a massive week for the markets, representing a crossroads of big economic and corporate data. While last week saw 20% of the S&P 500 firms reporting earnings, this week sees economic releases more than compensate for any drop-off in earnings data.

Investors will be looking ahead to the closely watched U.S. monthly jobs data, scheduled for release this Friday. Data updates expected to arrive include the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index for July and pending home sales for June.

U.S. stock futures have been tracking gains in Europe and Asia. European mining stocks rose after data from China, a big buyer of industrial and precious metals, showed construction activity at its highest level since December 2013. But China manufacturing fell more than expected in July, which hinted of a slowdown in the world’s No. 2 economy.

While large caps have tended to outperform small and mid-cap markets, oil has been the largest drag on portfolio performance and is continuing to drift south. Investors are keeping an eye on speculation the US may step up sanctions against Venezuela which is a major exporter of oil to the U.S. and a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Meanwhile, the dollar surged against the Russian ruble to 60.095 from 59.514 last week as Russian President Vladimir Putin said 755 US diplomats and staff would have to leave the country by September in retaliation for impending U.S. sanctions on Moscow.

Year to date the Dow was positive 10.77 percent; the S&P 500 and NASDAQ were both up 10.34 percent and 17.93 percent, respectively. The yield on the 10 year Treasury is currently yielding 2.30 percent.