Equity markets as measured by the MSCI USA Index gained 0.75% during the week, driven by gains in apparel and specialty retailers.
This is not a surprise as July retail sales excluding autos and gas climbed 0.7% showing strong demand as lower fuel prices provided room in consumer budgets for spending. July saw online sales for July climb by 2.7%.
However, signs of discounts and excess inventory were evident in department store sales, which fell 0.5%. Overseas markets were also up for the week with a 0.71% increase for the MSCI ACWI Ex USA Index. Japan’s NIKKEI Index led other markets, up 4.0% in local terms, or 2.2% for U.S. investors.
Year-to-date the NIKKEI Index has posted a positive 1.68% return versus – 10.7% for equity markets in the United States, a reminder of the importance of diversification provided by those BTC Capital strategies that include overseas exposure.