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Despite a short week and economic data showing signs of a slowing economy, large cap equities delivered impressiveperformance, primarily fueled by the tech sector. Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed the week at record highs as did the tech giants AAPL, AMZN, GOOGL, META, and MSFT. While monthly job growth came in above estimates, the prior two months were revised down. The unemployment rate ticked up to 4.1%, its highest level since November 2021, with reported job openings exceeding expectations. Based on ISM data, the Manufacturing sector reported a contraction for the third consecutive month (and 19 of the last 20), while the Services/non-Manufacturing sector fell significantly from the prior month to its lowest level in 4 years and reported a contraction. Given signs of a softening economy, expectations for an upcoming Fed rate cut in September increased.

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The equity markets had a mixed week to close out the first half of the year; however, on a year-to-date basis, all three major equity indices have shown impressive gains. Economic news last week showed inflation continues to trend lower as the core Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) Index for May was reported in line with expectations with an annual gain at 2.6%.

Mixed economic data kept the equity markets constrained last week moving into the final days of the second quarter. May retail sales figure came in below expectations with a gain of only 0.1%, while April’s retail sales figure was revised to a decline of 0.2%.

Key inflation data came in below expectations last week, helping the Federal Reserve move towards their goal of lower inflation. The headline Consumer Price Indec (CPI) came in at an annualized rate of 3.3%, below economists’ estimates of 3.4%.

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