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Market Attributes: U.S. Equity Indices Get Howard Silverblatt's take on the latest monthly performance of the U.S. equity market.
BY Howard Silverblatt

• The S&P 500® was up 5.51% in July, bringing its YTD return to 1.25%.

• The Dow Jones Industrial Average® gained 2.38% for the month and was down 7.39% YTD.

• The S&P MidCap 400® increased 4.53% for the month and was down 9.65% YTD.

• The S&P SmallCap 600® returned 4.03% in July and -15.26% YTD.


The number of new daily cases of COVID-19 reported in the U.S. reached 77,000, a record level, as over 4.6 million people in the U.S. were infected (17.5 million globally), with over 153,000 deaths (677,000).

The first month of earnings season started slowly, but picked up, as 62% of S&P 500 issues, representing 75% of the index value, reported. Companies took a little longer to review the COVID-19 situation and then decide what they wanted to tell the world (shareholders, competitors, and customers). The reported earnings results had 82.1% of the issues beating their estimates, which had been lowered by 47.9% (always nice to ensure a beat), as earnings continued to get front-page news but didn’t get the front-page headline. The U.S. Congress was in the public eye, but still was not the front-page headline, as the group returned after a break to battle COVID-19, not via the medical lab, but via negotiations to pass another (Phase Four) COVID-19-related aid package. The Senate (Republicans) unveiled their USD 1 trillion bill, which will now be negotiated with the USD 3.5 trillion bill from the House (Democrats). The key to the package appears to be an extension (potentially with changes) of the expired Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which gave an additional weekly unemployment benefit of USD 600 (the House bill brings it back to January 2021, the Senate cuts it to USD 200 until September 2020, then uses a formula based on wages with a cap after that), as well as direct aid to states (the House has USD 1 trillion for states and schools, the Senate has USD 105 billion for schools and no new aid for states).

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