There was not a great deal of action for the precious metals on Thursday. Although silver prices initially lost 5¢, they recovered to unchanged near $17.40/oz in early trading. Spot gold opened unchanged this morning before moving slightly higher to trade just above $1,310/oz. Platinum and palladium were mixed.
While much of the economic data released this week has been encouraging, there are still real concerns that stocks and bonds may be on the precipice of falling into bear markets.
The dollar gained about 0.3% this morning on the DXY index, registering above 93.1. Stock futures in the U.S. pointed about 0.4% higher while shares in Europe were also in positive territory by about 0.8%. The 10-year Treasury yield was steady at 2.14%.
On Thursday morning, the Labor Department reported that U.S. jobless claims came in at 236,000 new claims last week. This means the weekly report has held under 300,000 for the 130th consecutive week, the best streak since at least the 1970s. (It’s worth noting that the U.S. population was also considerably smaller four decades ago.) Overall, the number of Americans receiving unemployment benefits from the government is actually 9.5% lower year-on-year.
More data released this morning also showed that consumer spending in the U.S. picked up in July, rising by 0.3%. This was better than the two months previous and provides some signal that Americans are once again beginning to recycle their disposable income back into the broader economy. The same report from the Department of Commerce showed that incomes rose 0.4% during the month of June, the best since February.
Elsewhere in North America, greater consumer spending in Canada helped its economy expand by an impressive 4.5% during the second quarter, which was well above even the most optimistic expectations. This was not only the best quarter of economic growth for the country since the global recession that began in 2008 but was also by far the best quarterly growth among any of the G7 economies (U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, France, Italy, and Japan).
In another blow to the reputation of major banks, Wells Fargo has revealed that there are potentially millions more fake accounts opened by employees as part of the scandal that came to light last year. The bank has already identified more than $10 million in refunds (not all of which have been paid yet) after expanding its probe into the misconduct back to 2009 at the urging of lawmakers. However, this new figure may still be too low, as the first inklings of this practice actually date all the way back to 2002.
The slow recovery from the devastating weather in Texas may face more challenges as Harvey is once again making landfall. Though the rebuilding process is likely to stretch out over years, the courage, compassion, and resilience of the people in and around Houston has been spectacular in the face of such destruction.
The opinions and forecasts herein are provided solely for informational purposes, and should not be used or construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell any product.