Equity pessimism took a breather in July as investors shifted focus from trade wars to the start of this quarter’s highly anticipated earnings season. With 53% of the companies in the S&P 500 reporting, over 80% had positive earnings-per-share surprises and almost 80% reported a positive sales surprise. The good news from the US continued, with the economy growing over 4%, the fastest since 2014, including a better-than-expected 4% rise in consumer spending. Outside the US, Chinese equities enjoyed much needed relief as policy makers signalled modest easing, and European equities were boosted by a seemingly successful Trump-Juncker trade meeting.
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