Market participants in search of an adrenaline rush were likely left disappointed today. The major U.S. equity benchmarks meandered for most of the day, resulting in slightly lower finishes by the time the closing bell rang.
The Nasdaq Composite was the worst offender (we’ll get to that in a minute), shedding 0.52% while the S&P 500 lost 0.16%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.07%.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq was Friday’s dog among the major indexes due in large part to awful guidance from semiconductor maker Broadcom Inc. (NASDAQ:AVGO). Semiconductor stocks have been one of the epicenters of the U.S./China trade war and has been noted here, that trade war is expected to have some ill effects on second-quarter results. Broadcom proves as much.
The company slashed its 2019 revenue forecast “to $22.5 billion, from $24.5 billion and lowered its outlook for capital spending to $500 million, from $550 million,” according to Barron’s.
Shares of Broadcom slumped 5.6% today, spurring a slew of negative action by sell-side analysts. Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) is the only semiconductor maker in the Dow Jones, and its shares slid 1.1% Friday in response to the weakness in Broadcom. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is home to six technology stocks. Just two closed higher today.
Slim Pickings Among Winners
The Home Depot (NYSE:HD) was the biggest winner in the Dow today, gaining 1.7% to push its month-to-date gain to over 7%. The consumer cyclical name has been moving higher on light news this month, but there are some data points that portend some strength in the consumer, the driving force of the U.S. economy.
“The latest data on retail sales from the Census Bureau, released on Friday, suggests that spending is now rising to match incomes,” according to Barron’s. “Average spending at stores, bars, and restaurants, excluding gasoline stations, was up 1.2% in April and May, compared with February and March on a seasonally adjusted basis.”
Walmart (NYSE:WMT) said it is laying off around 600 workers in Charlotte as part of an outsourcing program. The company is the largest U.S. retailer and biggest non-government employer in the U.S. It is doubtful that a headcount reduction of 600 was behind today’s gain of 0.4% for the stock. Shares of Walmart are up about 9% this month, serving as another example of investors’ preference for defensive names. The stock hit a 52-week high today.
United Technologies (NYSE:UTX), the defense giant that has been making regular appearances in this space in recent days, traded slightly higher today after an analyst said the stock’s drubbing in the wake of its controversial deal with Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) is a case of too much, too fast.
Today, Vertical Research analyst Jeffrey Sprague upgraded United Technologies to “buy” from “hold” while lifting his price target on the stock to $145 from $140.
Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE:GS), the largest U.S. investment stock and the biggest financial stock in the Dow, rose 0.19%.
The stock “is currently trading at around tangible book value, and it has over 30% upside to our fair value estimate,” said Morningstar.
Bottom Line on the Dow Jones Today
Investors should expect to see more diverging data points and opinions over the near term. For example, the Federal Reserve said in a report out Friday that industrial production rose 0.4% last month. However, the University of Michigan consumer sentiment reading for June dropped to 97.9 this month from 100 in May. That was due in large part to tariff concerns.
With second-quarter earnings season fast approaching, investors may want to consider looking for sector-level opportunities.
“At the sector level, analysts are most optimistic on the Energy (64%), Health Care (60%), and Communication Services (60%) sectors, as these three sectors have the highest percentages of Buy ratings,” according to FactSet.
As of this writing, Todd Shriber did not own any of the aforementioned securities.