Markets performed well in July, with major indices closing in strong, positive territory. The S&P 500 increased 3.6% to 2,816 in July and is up 5.3% year to date. Similarly, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) increased nearly 5% during the month to 25,415.19, and the NASDAQ increased 2.2% to 7,671.79.
Equities were driven to gains during the month largely due to a strong corporate earnings season and positive economic data. According to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, approximately 60% of the S&P 500 had reported earnings, and 82% of those that reported had reported better-than-expected earnings. Interestingly, Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) topped the record book with a single-day loss of roughly $120 billion after the company reported earnings.
July closed with a strong second-quarter GDP reading of 4.1% (annualized), which was the fastest annualized pace since the third quarter of 2014 and the third largest gain since the Great Recession. We enter August with strong GDP growth but also with continued concerns over trade tensions and a flattening yield curve.