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OTC Markets Group Inc. organizes securities into three markets based on the quality and quantity of information companies disclose. The Company provides services in three areas: Trading Services, Market Data and Corporate Services. Through its Alternative Trading System (ATS), OTC Link ATS, the Company connects the United States broker-dealers to provide liquidity & execution services for securities on its markets. The Market Data Licensing business line provides investors, traders, institutions, and regulators with a suite of enterprise and user market data licenses. Corporate Services business line includes the OTCQX Best Market (OTCQX), the OTCQB Venture Market (OTCQB) and the Pink Open Market (Pink), and its suite of disclosure and information services. Corporate Service products provide companies with solutions to engage and inform investors.

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Dow, S&P 500 snap run of record highs as stocks end lower after disappointing retail sales

4:29 pm ET August 17, 2021 (MarketWatch)

By Christine Idzelis and William Watts

Home Depot shares fall after same-store sales disappoint

U.S. stocks closed lower Tuesday, ending a five-day run of record finishes for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 indexes, after July retail sales came in weaker than expected and concern grew about the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus which may slow economic growth.

What did the major indexes do?

U.S. stocks recovered Monday from early losses, and the S&P 500 notched its 49th record close of 2021. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average each established a fifth straight record close, while the Nasdaq Composite weakened by 0.2%.

What drove markets?

Stocks ended lower Tuesday after investors evaluated the latest economic data against a backdrop of increased concern over the delta variant of the coronavirus.

Retail sales fell 1.1% in July (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/u-s-retail-sales-slump-1-1-due-to-shortage-of-cars-and-shift-in-consumer-spending-11629204065?mod=mw_latestnews), and were down 0.4% after excluding autos. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had penciled in a 0.3% monthly drop in sales in July, or a 0.2% gain when autos are excluded.

That's "disappointing," said Randy Frederick, managing director of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab, in a phone interview Tuesday. Still, the market had a "fairly benign" reaction to the decline, as stock futures were pointing down before the retail sales data was released, he said.

In Frederick's view, investors probably are also expressing concern over the delta variant spreading around the U.S., with increasing discussion surrounding "booster shots." And on top of that, geopolitical risks linked to the Taliban's faster-than-expected takeover of Afghanistan (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/thousands-pack-kabuls-chaotic-airport-after-taliban-sweeps-to-power-01629109232) is adding some volatility to a market that's more sensitive as it's been trading around all-time highs, he said.

"There are a lot of crosscurrents," without one single concern standing out as serving a "big blow" to the market, said Yung-Yu Ma, chief investment strategist at BMO Wealth Management, in a phone interview Tuesday. "It's more a death by a thousand cuts right now."

U.S. retail sales fell as supply disruptions weighed on automobile purchases, with sales at auto dealerships down 3.9% after declining 2.2% in June. Vehicle production has been hampered by a global shortage of semiconductors. Meanwhile online purchases dropped after Amazon pulled forward its Prime Day sale to June from July.

The fall in retail sales "could be a sign that the rapid spread of the delta coronavirus variant is convincing some consumers to stay away from public spaces again and is consistent with real consumption growth slowing sharply in the third quarter," said Andrew Hunter, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, in a note.

The Biden administration is preparing to announce that most vaccinated Americans should get a COVID-19 booster shot (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/u-s-to-recommend-covid-booster-for-most-people-8-months-after-vaccination-report-11629169123)eight months after being fully vaccinated, the New York Times reported (https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/16/us/vaccination-booster-shots.html) Monday night.

In corporate earnings, Walmart Inc.(WMT) reported on Tuesday results that highlighted a strong start for the back-to-school season as they raised guidance, said Lindsey Bell, chief investment strategist at Ally Invest. And year-over-year retail-sales growth remained impressive, up 15.8%, she noted, in emailed comments, with apparel and restaurant sales up significantly.

"While spending may slow in the near-term as the delta variant is present and the pricing of goods and services adjust to the supply and demand picture, I remain encouraged for the spending into the holidays and end of year," Bell said.

In other U.S. economic data Tuesday though U.S. industrial production rose (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/u-s-industrial-output-picks-up-in-july-11629206935)a seasonally adjusted 0.9% in July, the Federal Reserve reported Tuesday. That's a fastest pace since March and follows a revised 0.2% gain in June.

The National Association of Home Builders' monthly confidence index fell five points to a reading of 75 in August, the trade group said Tuesday, its lowest in 13 months (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/home-builder-confidence-sinks-to-lowest-level-in-over-a-year-as-home-prices-soar-11629208832).

Investors are also looking to next week's Jackson Hole central banker symposium for an update on Federal Reserve Policy. Fed chairman Jerome Powell talked to teachers and students from around the country Tuesday afternoon and said the ultimate impact of COVID's delta variant (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/feds-powell-uncertain-about-what-the-rise-of-covid-delta-variant-means-for-the-economy-11629225037?mod=mw_latestnews) on the U.S. economy remains unknown.

Inflation poses an even bigger risk to markets than Covid-19, according to Scott Wren, senior global market strategist at Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

"It's not our base case that it gets out of hand," he said in a phone interview Tuesday. "But the biggest risk to our outlook is that inflation doesn't decelerate over the next 12 to 18 months."

Need to Know:Here's what Vanguard found to be the most potent inflation-fighting asset class (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/heres-what-vanguard-found-to-be-the-most-potent-inflation-fighting-asset-class-11629196993?mod=need-to-know)

Fund managers, meanwhile, are taking slightly more defensive positions as they grow more pessimistic on the economy and corporate profits, according to the latest monthly survey conducted by Bank of America (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/fund-managers-are-getting-more-defensive-as-worries-about-economy-grow-survey-finds-11629197547), which was released Tuesday.

Global fund managers have increased their holdings in healthcare, insurance, utilities and cash, while trimming their exposure to materials, commodities, emerging markets and energy, the survey found.

Also of note, the Hang Seng slumped 1.7% in Hong Kong and the Shanghai Composite dropped 2% Tuesday after China published draft rules on competition and data security in the technology sector. Chinese stocks listed in the U.S. fell too, with Alibaba (9988.HK), Baidu (K3SD.SG) and JD.com (JD) slumping.

Don't miss:Welcome to MemeMarkets, your guide to the world of 'Stonks' (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/welcome-to-mememarkets-your-guide-to-the-world-of-stonks-11629200480?mod=bnbh)

Which companies were in focus?

What did other markets do?

--Steve Goldstein contributed to this report.

-Christine Idzelis


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 17, 2021 16:29 ET (20:29 GMT)

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