The three major U.S. equity indexes ended the day and the week with gains that brought them to or near record levels. The Dow added 84 points, with 27 of its 30 components advancing; the S&P 500 Index moved up 11 points; and the Nasdaq was 38 points higher. Advancers led decliners by 5 to 2 on the NYSE and by almost 4 to 3 on the Nasdaq. The prices of Treasuries strengthened. Gold futures gained $10.20 to close at $1,227.50 an ounce, and the price of crude oil increased $0.46 to settle at $46.54 a barrel.

For the week, the Dow added 1.05%, the S&P 500 gained 1.41%, and the Nasdaq was 2.61% higher.

In earnings news:

  • Wells Fargo & Co. said net income in the second quarter was $1.07 per share, a 6% increase compared with the same period a year ago. Revenue was unchanged at $22.2 billion. Wells Fargo stock (WFC) was down 1.10% in trading for the day.
  • Citigroup Inc. reported net income of $1.28 a share in the second quarter, compared with $1.24 a share in the year-earlier period. Revenue was $17.9 billion, up from $17.5 billion. Citigroup shares (C) fell 0.49%.
  • J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. reported second-quarter profit of $1.82 a share compared to $1.55 a share in the same period of 2016. Revenue rose to $26.41 billion. J.P. Morgan shares (JPM) shares declined 0.93%.
  • Infosys Ltd. reported a 1.4% rise in its fiscal first-quarter net profit and a 1.8% revenue increase. The Bangalore-based company maintained its projection that current financial year revenue will grow between 6.5% and 8.5%. In U.S. trading, Infosys stock (INFY) was up 0.64%.

In business news:

  • China’s fiscal spending increased 19.1% in June from a year earlier, more than doubling May’s 9.2% growth, according to data from the Ministry of Finance. National government revenue growth increased to 8.9% in June, from 3.7%, due to strength in prices of industrial products, companies’ improved profits, and increased imports, the ministry said.
  • The consumer price index (CPI) was flat in June compared with May at 1.6%, reflecting lower gasoline prices and suggesting a recent surge in inflation may have crested. Retail sales fell 0.2%, according to the Labor Department. Core CPI, a measure of inflation that excludes the volatile food and energy prices, rose 0.1% in June.

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Here’s a variation on the Where’s Waldo game for you. Instead of looking for Waldo in a book, look around for a vanlifer as you travel this summer. Vanlifers commit to living life in their van, traveling the world, and sharing their experiences on social media. The concept may harken to the Beat Generation’s life on the road. Jack Kerouac got a series of much-beloved books from his Beat experiences. Vanlifers got a hashtag.

Foster Huntington is credited with launching #vanlife in 2011 on Instagram. Vanlife is quite different from people living in a van down by the river, which dates back at least to May 1993 when Chris Farley was Matt Foley on Saturday Night Live. No, #vanlife is comprised of folks who toss their belongings into a Volkswagen Vanagon (or similar) and set out to see, record, and share pictures and accounts of their journeys on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, and Twitter.

Over the last six years, The New Yorker reports, more than 1.2 million Instagram posts have been tagged #vanlife. Many vanlifers seek to simplify, simplify, as Thoreau said; increase self-sufficiency, reduce earthly footprints, and connect with nature. One vanlifer’s book is titled, “Walden on Wheels.”

On the other hand, there also is commerce growing around vanlife. A group of companies cater to the lifestyle, offering products and services specifically designed for living in a van and keeping it running. Thanks to social media, vanlifers can have tens of thousands of followers (Huntington has a million) and therein lies value for marketers. Some vanlifers are considered influencers who affect purchasing decisions. Influence translates into financial sponsorships. And, in an inevitable evolutionary step, intermediaries are stepping in and, for a fee, connecting vanlifers with financial sponsors. Some vanlifers also offer donation-based advice to others on how to start and sustain a vanlife without driving co-travelers to distraction.

If you find a vanlifer in your travels this summer, consider this; connecting with sponsors, reaching product placement deals, taking and preparing pictures, writing captions for postings that will drive buying decisions, tracking users and results, and traveling to the next perfect destination for the next perfect picture, all adds up to a lot of work. That doesn’t take into account the challenges of living in about 90 square feet of space all the time.

So, if you find a vanlifer in your travels, consider tossing them a thumbs up, you know, for the effort.

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