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US stocks ended the week mostly unchanged on Friday after economic data painted a mixed picture of the economy. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 18.38 points to 26,458.31, while the S&P 500 edged 0.02 point lower to 2,913.98. The Nasdaq Composite Index edged up 4.38 points to end at 8,046.35. Both the S&P 500 and the Dow have posted gains in 11 of the last 12 quarters, with the Nasdaq rising for its ninth consecutive quarter.
European benchmarks meanwhile ended the session lower as Italy’s anti-establishment government agreed to a 2019 deficit projection of 2.4%, marking a significant rise in spending and potentially triggering downgrades of Italy’s credit rating. Italy’s FTSE MIB Index ended 3.7% lower to 20,711.70, its worst daily drop since late June 2016 while Germany’s DAX 30 closed 1.5% lower at 12,246.73. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 slipped to finish the session down 0.5% at 7,510.20 whilst still ending the week 0.3% higher.
The Week Ahead
Geopolitical events may take center stage again in coming days after Italy’s anti-establishment government significantly widened its budget-deficit target for next year to fund its electoral promises, a move that is seen as potentially triggering downgrades of Italy’s credit rating, worsening the country’s debt outlook, and putting Rome and its populist coalition government on a collision course with Brussels over European Union fiscal rules.
Rome will submit a draft budget proposal in October and that would put Italy on a head-on course with the EU, which is likely to push back against a budget plan that produces a large deficit. Drama had been building around the budget release and this issue is the latest bit of geopolitical turbulence that could impact Wall Street, following a currency crisis in Turkey earlier this summer.
U.S. President Donald Trump is set to sign a successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement that will make modest revisions to a deal he once called a “disaster,” easing uncertainty for companies reliant on tariff-free commerce.
The deal caps a turbulent period for relations between the U.S. and Canada, traditionally close allies on national security and trade. The alliance was severely tested by Trump’s aggressive negotiating style and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s willingness to stand his ground on key issues such as dairy and dispute settlement.
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