US consumer confidence remains relatively unchanged
The conference board published the US consumer confidence index for July on July 27, 2016. The index posted gains in June—it remained relatively unchanged in July. US consumer confidence came at 97.3—compared to 97.4 the previous month. US consumers remained cautiously optimistic about the near-term economic conditions. However, confidence declined over the six-month period. US consumers’ outlook towards the employment scenario improved marginally in July.
New home sales and Richmond manufacturing index strengthen
The Census Bureau released the new home sales data at a multiyear high of 592,000. This was well above the forecasts of a rise of 560,000 and 572,000 the previous month.
The Richmond manufacturing index also posted strong gains. It rose to ten compared to a fall of four the previous month. The rise was mainly due to the increase in the volume of new orders and wages. The volume of new orders rose by 15 compared to a fall of 17 the previous month.
XME And XHB lead the SPDR pack
Looking at major sector-based SPDR indexes, the SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP) and the SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF (XME) were the biggest gainers on July 26. They rose by 5.5% and 1.8%, respectively. The new home sales data release also boosted the SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB)—it rose by 0.87%.