Despite political upheaval in Washington, D.C. and a decline in stock prices for the second week in a row, the economy showed strength last week. The Standard & Poor's 500 stock index, a barometer of America's promise, suffered its second consecutive weekly decline, closing at 2425.55. But the decline for the week was less than 1% and Friday's close was only about 2.5% off the all-time high close of 2480.91, reached on August 7, and it came as economic data continued to suggest the 96-month old expansion and bull market was continuing to gain strength.
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Fickle Financial Headlines Brighten
Retail sales, which drive 70% of U.S. economic growth, rose four-tenths of 1% in August, the U.S. Census Bureau said on Friday morning.
Suddenly headlines changed, growing less grim than they've been lately.
Friday's retail report quelled growing worries reflected in recent headlines in the financial press about the inversion of the yield curve, the 11-month plunge in manufacturing sector activity, the trade-war with China, and a global economic slowdown hurting the U.S. economy.
Friday's report of an increase of 0.4% in total retail sales in August over July was driven by a jump in auto sales.
Total retail sales in August were 4.1% higher than in August 2018. For the three-month period from June through August 2019, retail sales were up 3.7% from the same period a year ago.
The Standard & Poor's 500 dropped fractionally on Friday but was up slightly from last week, closing less than 1% off its all-time record high, set in July.
This article was written by a veteran financial journalist based on data compiled and analyzed by independent economist, Fritz Meyer. While these are sources we believe to be reliable, the information is not intended to be used as financial or tax advice without consulting a professional about your personal situation. Tax laws are subject to change. Indices are unmanaged and not available for direct investment. Investments with higher return potential carry greater risk for loss. No one can predict the future of the stock market or any investment, and past performance is never a guarantee of your future results.
This article was written by a professional financial journalist for Advisor Products and is not intended as legal or investment advice.