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Market Wrap for August 18: Cautious Optimism

Asif Imtiaz Aug 18, 2017

After some sensible comments from North Korea, investors finally put their guards down early in the week, and the Dow once again crossed the 22,000 mark following the lead from a healthy retail sector, which confirmed the prevailing bullishness in the economy.

During the week, we learned that members of the Fed are divided on the issue of unwinding the balance sheet, as some members are concerned about the lack of inflation in the economy. This puts a big question mark on the upcoming tapering down of their bond holdings.

Besides better-than-expected retail sales figures, a lack of significant economic news early in the week shifted the focus of investors to the political arena, where the airwaves were dominated by President Trump’s alternating stance regarding the Charlottesville situation. Thankfully, the markets appeared indifferent to the fiery political commentaries from the mainstream media. However, after some members of the President’s advisory council on manufacturing resigned due to Trump’s reaction, and the subsequent dissolving of the forum, the markets finally started trading with caution.

As the president is expected to lose support from the business community, investors seemed nervous about Trump’s promise on tax reform that was supposed to be his next big deal after several failed attempts at replacing the Affordable Care Act.

After last two week’s bumpy ride, it’s safe to say we have entered a tentative time that will test the resilience of the bulls.

Be sure to check out our previous week’s edition here, in which traders were focused on the escalating tension between the U.S. and North Korea.

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