Major US indices ended mixed on Tuesday. Markets were in the green earlier in the day, led by news on better-than-expected retail sales, but investors took a step back from the rally, after posting gains in 8 of the last 9 sessions.
US retail sales increased 0.4% in August. Excluding auto sales, the gain was 0.6%, slightly better than what economists expected. With consumer spending making up 70% of the US economy, some analysts say the numbers need to be stronger. But the August figures are a good sign that Americans are starting to spend again.
In other economic news, business inventories rose 1% in July, the largest increase in 2 years, versus 0.5% rise in June. Economists say it’s too soon to tell if this is good news or bad news. While the increase in inventories could mean a better 3rd quarter GDP, it could also be that sales are not keeping pace with inventory, thus leading to a slow down in production and hiring.
And US gold futures hit a new intra-day high today rising to a record $1,276.50 an ounce before settling the day $1,271.70 an ounce - also a record, as investors looked to safe havens in an uncertain global economy. The dollar fell to a 15-year low against the Japanese yen, which could hurt Japan’s exports.
Oil futures for October delivery fell 39 cents to $76.80 a barrel. Asian markets ended mixed while European markets ended in the green. The yield on the 10-year bond fell to 2.67% from 2.76% late Monday.