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Stocks Shake Off Syria Tension

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Today's financial recap and tomorrow's financial outlook.

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Economic data that came out overnight from the UK, Australia, and the eurozone was inline to better than expected. The UK services PMI rose to 60.5 from 60.2 the month before, ahead of the 59.7 estimate. Additionally, Australia's second-quarter GDP rose 0.6% from the prior quarter, and rose 2.6% from a year ago. Both of these figures beat their respective estimates. Emerging market currencies stepped back from the edge today; the Brazilian real, Indian rupee, Indonesian rupiah, and Turkish lira all finished higher versus the dollar.
The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) opened the day unchanged following the better-than-expected economic data overnight. US equities had sold off sharply yesterday afternoon following news reports that Republican Congressional leaders were endorsing President Obama's plan to attack Syria. Early in the morning, it was reported that Republican Senator John McCain would not endorse the Senate panel's draft proposal following reports yesterday that he would; this was a catalyst that sent equities rocketing higher. McCain, however, did vote yes on the proposal in the afternoon. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 10-7-1 to approve a military strike in Syria with a 90-day limit on any action. The resolution would bar the use of ground troops. The Senate will vote on this measure next week.
The other positive catalyst today was August vehicle sales. Total vehicle sales rose to an annualized rate of 16.02 million from 15.73 million in the month prior. The consensus estimate was for a rate of 15.8 million. Sales from General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Ford (NYSE:F) were the two standouts. In response to the increase in sales, Ford announced that it would boost production in the fourth quarter by 7%.
The Nasdaq (NASDAQ:NDAQ) suffered another outage today. The NYSE Arca and Direct Edge exchanges both had issues with Tape C symbols, which come from the Nasdaq's ticker feed. Last week, Nasdaq exchanges were shuttered for more than three hours following similar problems.

Tomorrow's Financial Outlook

Tomorrow morning's economic data will be a preview for Friday's nonfarm payrolls report. ADP will release its private payrolls report at 8:15 a.m. ET. Economists estimate that private payrolls rose by 180,000 from the month prior. Also, tomorrow will be the last week of jobless claims, forecast to decline to a weekly rate of 330,000 from 331,000 a week ago.

Additionally, the ISM services index will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET. Estimates are for a decline in the index to 55.0 from 56.0 last month. The employment component of the ISM report has the greatest relevance to Friday's payroll report. Lastly, July factory orders will be released in the late morning. Should these orders decline, it would cause third-quarter GDP estimates to be revised down.
In global market-moving news, tomorrow will be the day of the central bankers. The two-day Bank of Japan meeting will conclude late this evening with a decision expected around midnight. Tomorrow morning the Bank of England and ECB will release their monetary policy decisions. It is expected that the Bank of England and ECB will follow a similar approach to that taken by the US Fed in terms of issuing forward guidance on interest rates.
Major US earnings reports scheduled for tomorrow include Conn's (NASDAQ:CONN), Quiksilver (NYSE:ZQK), Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ:SWHC), Finisar (NASDAQ:FNSR), and VeriFone (NYSE:PAY).

Twitter: @Minyanville

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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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