Major U.S. equity indexes were higher for the day and for the week. Today, the Dow gained 64 points, with 19 of 30 components advancing; the S&P 500 Index added 4 points; and the Nasdaq was 19 points higher. Advancers led decliners by more than 9 to 5 on the NYSE and by more than 3 to 2 on the Nasdaq. The prices of 10-year Treasuries weakened while the prices of 30-year Treasuries strengthened. Gold futures fell $4.10 to close at $1,325.20 an ounce. The price of crude oil was unchanged at $49.89 a barrel.
For the week, the Dow gained 2.15%, the S&P 500 added 1.57%, and the Nasdaq was 1.38% higher.
In other business news:
- Sales at U.S. retailers nationwide dropped 0.2% in August, marking the biggest decline in six months. Economists had forecast no change. Sales for July and June were also weaker than originally reported. August sales at auto dealers sank 1.6%. Stripping out autos, U.S. retail sales rose 0.2%, with the increase largely due to higher gasoline prices. Sales at internet retailers fell 1.1%, the biggest decline since 2014.
- The Empire State manufacturing survey slipped to 24.4 in September from 25.2 in August. Economists had expected activity to pull back to a 19 reading, according to a survey. Readings above zero in this survey, conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, indicate improving conditions. The new orders index rose 4.3 points to 24.9 in September and the shipments index rose 3.8 points to 16.2. The unfilled orders index jumped 13.6 points to 8.9.
- The Federal Reserve reported that industrial production plunged in August mainly due to disruptions from Hurricane Harvey. Output sank 0.9% last month, the first decline in production in seven months. Economists had forecast a flat reading in August. The manufacturing industries with the largest estimated storm-related effects were petroleum refining, organic chemicals, and plastics materials and resins, the central bank said.
- The University of Michigan consumer-sentiment index fell to 95.3 from 96.8 in August. Economists expected a reading of 94.5. Without prompting, survey respondents mentioned concerns that Harvey, Irma, or both, would have a negative impact on the overall economy.
When Daily Advantage began in the early 2000s, receiving an email was still a novel event (“Wow, an e-mail of my very own!”). Fast forward to today: the art of e-mail inbox-clearing has reached Olympic sport-level credibility (“1,000 e-mails of my very own? Bring it.”). The digital landscape has changed a lot since the dial-up days, with Google and blogging taking center stage, then Twitter and Facebook, followed by paranoia about Facebook, and now a return to artisanal content like e-mail-delivered news and blog roundups, which are reemerging with retro fury.
And through it all, Daily Advantage chugged along, made possible by tens of thousands of subscribers whom we hold near and dear, and who’ve stayed with us for years. It’s with mixed emotions that I’m here to report that the chugging is almost at its end. We’ve had to re-contextualize our deployable assets vis-à-vis customer-facing units of brand-moving content, is what I would say if I were speaking in jargon. But since regular readers know how I feel about jargon, I’ll instead say that we had to ask ourselves a few tough questions: What sort of information is most valuable to our readers and investors, and what sort of information can we best provide? We have many ideas along those lines, but one thing we knew already: The news summaries and commentary in our beloved Daily Advantage e-mails were unique in the early days of the internet, but they’re now readily available to anyone with an internet connection. And so we’ve made the bittersweet decision to end Daily Advantage. The last newsletter will hit inboxes on Monday, with a look at how far the world has come since the first issue was published on May 31, 2001 (my suggestion that the final edition be suitable for framing has so far been met with awkward silence, but I’m holding out hope).
We still firmly believe in the need for straight-shooting, non-hyping talk about the markets and the power of a little bit of humor to help everyone (especially ourselves) keep things in a proper context. And let’s face it, somedays the humor (or our ham-fisted attempts at it), help balance out the scale. We’ve got other things in mind along those lines, and we’ll let you know when they surface if you’re interested. We’ll also keep regularly publishing interesting investment-related material on our blog, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts.
We’d like to thank all the people who made Daily Advantage possible these many years, starting with its founding editor, Peter Nulty. Then there are the many writers who’ve filed copy, the copy editors, the compliance reviewers, the social media team who carried Daily Advantage out of the world of email, the email team that formatted text, helped us triple-check our work, and hit the “send” button so I wouldn’t have to, thus taking on the cringe-inducing burden anyone feels when they’re about to hit “send” on an email going to a large number of people.
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In the meantime, Daily Advantage will head to that place all newsletters go when they retire, a quiet farm in the country with no internet, no news, no place to be except right where they are, and with no deadlines, they’re always on time.