The trend can be your friend when you are a short seller in the markets today. The trading activity was robust for day traders and short selling investors as the markets tumbled lower as the day moved on. Trading volume was heavy amidst the bloodshed of the market session as the Bears reared on their hind legs, watching the lows of the session, move even lower.
At the closing bell, here is how the major indices ended the session: the DOW (Dow Jones Industrial Average) posted a triple digit loss of 280.28 points on the day to end the session at 13,041.85; the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) posted a triple digit loss of 239.01 points to end the session at 9,289.92; the NASDAQ posted a loss of 60.61 points for a close at 2,500.64; the S&P 500 moved lower by 34.43 points to end at 1,432.36 and the RUSSELL 2000 moved lower by 21.62 points to close at 778.02. The FTSE All-World Index ex-US (top Large/Mid Cap aggregate from over 2,700 stocks from the FTSE Global Equity Index Series (GEIS) which covers 90% of the world’s investable market capitalization) posted a loss of 3.24 points to close at 248.23 and the FTSE RAFI 1000 posted a triple digit loss of 145.34 points to close at 5,930.27.
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond Conditions Survey released today:
Service Sector Conditions Survey: Retail Sales Contract and Growth Slows a Bit at Services Firms; Price Pressures Contained Weakness in retail activity outweighed moderate growth at services firms in August, pulling the overall service-sector revenues index lower. Sharply lower sales were driven by a steep decline in the big-ticket category that began in May and added momentum in August. Although shopper traffic also weakened, retail inventories expanded by less than in July. In contrast to retail activity, revenues continued to grow at services firms this month, albeit at a somewhat slower pace than in July. On the employment front, retailers cut payrolls, while average retail wages rose more quickly than in July. Similarly, average wages grew at a faster clip among services providers, while the pace of hiring slowed compared to a month ago. Price pressures eased across the board in August. Looking ahead six months, retail businesses expected their prices to rise more quickly. Services providers looked for somewhat slower price growth than they had anticipated last month.
Overall Service Sector
Service sector revenues declined in August as retail sales dropped and revenue growth slowed at services-providing firms. The overall revenues index slipped to -4 from July's 6. In addition, hiring across the sector weakened in August, as retailers continued to shed jobs and services providers added fewer employees. The index slipped 6 points to 1. In contrast, average wage growth picked up, rising to an index of 14 compared to last month's 5. Survey respondents were less upbeat about their outlook for business prospects in the six months ahead—the expectations index lost 22 points to 17.
Retail activity declined steeply in August. The retail sales index fell to -34 from last month's 3, as big-ticket sales dropped sharply for the fourth consecutive month. The big-ticket index lost 5 points from its July reading, to settle at -48. Shopper traffic also weakened further in August, to an index of -20 from July's -10. However, retail inventories accumulated at a slower pace than a month ago with the index finishing at 6, well below its July reading of 45. Looking ahead, retailers were less optimistic about sales prospects for the next six months. The expectations index retreated to 13 from July's 29. Retailers cut jobs in August, although the pace of reductions slowed somewhat. The indicator gained 5 points to -12. Conversely, average retail wage growth revved up in August, with the index jumping to 25 from its month-ago reading of 3.
Revenue growth at services-providing firms tapered off in August to an index of 5 compared to 9 in July. In addition, the pace of hiring slowed, with that index settling at 7 from 14. Average wage growth at services-providing firms picked up somewhat, gaining 4 points to 11. Services providers were more cautious in their optimism about the demand for their services in the six months ahead. The expectations index softened to 22 in August from July's reading of 44.
Price growth in the service sector eased in August, to an annual rate of 0.82 percent, after rising at 1.13 percent in July. Retail prices grew at a 1.65 percent pace compared to last month's 1.89 percent reading, and price growth at services-providing firms slowed to 0.42 percent following July's reading of 0.71 percent. Looking ahead, survey respondents anticipated sector-wide price growth of 1.23 percent over the next six months, a tad faster than their July outlook for 1.17 percent. Retailers expected their prices to grow at 2.26 percent in the coming months, somewhat above their month-ago expectation for 1.86 percent. Services providers’ anticipated 0.81 percent price growth over the next six months, slightly below the 0.98 percent pace they looked for in July. All firms surveyed are located within the Fifth Federal Reserve District, which includes the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and most of West Virginia.
Manufacturing Conditions Survey: Manufacturing activity picks up the pace in August; Employment and average workweek increased; Expectations remain optimistic.
Manufacturing activity in the central Atlantic region advanced somewhat faster in August according to the Richmond Fed’s latest survey. The index of overall activity edged higher behind solid increases in shipments and new orders. In addition, contacts indicated that the pace of hiring had strengthened for the first time since November of 2006. Other indicators were mixed. Manufacturers reported somewhat slower growth in backlogs, but noted quicker growth in delivery times and finished goods inventories. Looking forward, the outlook for business prospects over the next six months was in line with last month’s readings. Firms continued to look for steady growth in shipments, new orders and capacity utilization. On the price front, raw material prices grew at a slightly slower pace in August, while finished good prices grew at a somewhat quicker pace. For the next six months, respondents expected both raw material and finished good prices to grow at slightly faster rates compared to last month’s expectations.
In August, the seasonally adjusted manufacturing index - our broadest measure of manufacturing activity - moved up three points to 7. Among the index’s components, shipments gained five points to 10, while new orders slipped three points to 5 and the jobs index moved up eight points to finish at 5. Other indicators were mixed. The capacity utilization index was virtually unchanged at -1, while vendor delivery times edged higher to 6. Inventory levels for finished goods grew at a slightly quicker pace in August adding eight points to end at 30. On the other hand, the raw materials inventory index trimmed six points to 12. The orders backlogs showed the largest change, falling eight points to finish at 2.
Labor market conditions strengthened at District plants in August. In addition to gains in the employment index, the average workweek recouped three points to end at 2. In contrast, the wage index slipped two points to 9.