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Morning stock market summary

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It’s another weak showing for the bulls this morning as investors assess the upcoming Jackson Hole Fed meeting and grasp to come up with what could be a positive takeaway for financial markets.  Risk assets have had big summer rallies and Powell and Company have no interest in being seen as cheerleading the gains, so it is widely assumed that the tone will be hawkish.  It’s a quiet day on the data front, as the only economic report on the calendar is the Chicago Fed National Activity Index for July which actually came in better than expected at +0.27 versus expectations for a reading of -0.25.

In what looks like a textbook example of a bear market rally grinding to a halt right at resistance, the S&P 500’s attempt to take out its 200-day moving average (DMA) proved extremely unsuccessful in its first and only attempt last week.  The bulls cut out early Friday and still appear to be on vacation heading into the new week as the S&P 500 appears to be bookending the weekend with declines of over 1% on each side.  Rallies can’t go on forever, so the pullback shouldn’t surprise anyone, but if the bulls don’t get back on the field soon, the S&P 500’s chart will only look increasingly worse.

The S&P 500 snapped a four-week winning streak last week, and most sectors contributed to the decline.  Leading the way lower, Communication Services and Materials each pulled back over 2%.  In the process, Communication Services moved back into the down 25% YTD range and is one of only two sectors that is no longer overbought.  Besides these two sectors, five others pulled back over 1% last week, so the declines were broad-based.  On the downside, defensives attracted investor interest with Consumer Staples and Utilities rallying more than 1%.  Along with those two, Energy also managed to rally more than 1% taking its YTD gain back over 46%.

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