Investors were taking some risk-off the table last week as the U.S. Presidential Election approaches. The S&P 500 Index has now closed lower for nine straight days after completing the week at 2,085, but in percentage terms, it has declined only about 3%. High-yield bonds were lower, while Treasuries gained.
Earnings results continued to be the focus for individual companies. Checkpoint (CHKP), Harris (HRS), Starbucks (SBUX), and Skyworks (SWKS) are a handful of the companies that impressed investors with solid results and outlooks. Disappointments came from Zimmer Biomet (ZBH), Facebook (FB), Church & Dwight (CHD), Qorvo (QRVO), and more. With over 70% of S&P 500 members reporting, total earnings are up 1.6% over last year. This is an improvement after six quarters in a row of earnings declines. About 70% of those members beat EPS estimates, while 55% topped revenue expectations.
For U.S. data released, PMI Manufacturing had a very positive read at 53.4 in October, led by new orders. ISM Manufacturing reported moderate conditions, with the index at 51.9 for October. Respondents to the survey noted "favorable outlooks", "business is much better", and a "strong economy driving steady sales". The U.S. Employment Situation was solid. Average hourly earnings are rising, with the year-on-year rate up to 2.8%. Nonfarm payrolls were up 161,000.