Despite a surge in U.S. stocks in Friday morning trading, the major averages ended the day higher by only a fraction of a percent as banks and crude oil sold off in later trading.
The financial sector helped the overall market early on, with better-than-expected results out of banking giants JPMorgan and Citigroup.
"With today's results, we would say the winners are trading, credit conditions and expense management. We would call net interest margin a loser and loan growth mixed (call it a tie) with good growth but evidence of a slowdown," LPL Research said in a research note, describing various areas of banking. "Though not a favorite sector, thanks to rising interest rates the outlook for the sector has improved."
Jason Benowitz, portfolio manager at Roosevelt Investments, thinks exchanges, like the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Stock Market, offer the best exposure to the financial sector.
"We do not own any of the large eight U.S. banks that carry global systemic risk," Benowitz said. "The area that we think is the most interesting is the financial exchanges. We like these stocks because we think of them as a natural hedge. In a rising market, they should do just well and participate. During times of market disruption, volume actually increases on the exchanges, and that is good for earnings."
Retail sales jumped 0.6 percent last month to $459.8 billion, the Commerce Department said Friday. August sales were revised to a decline of 0.2 percent, a slight improvement from a previous estimate of a 0.3 percent drop. This could suggest a better jobs market, and improved hourly wages are giving consumers more spending power.
Chinese inflation data helped ease pressures on markets after weaker export data from the day before weighed heavily on metals and materials. In China, September producer prices unexpectedly rose for the first time in nearly five years, and consumer inflation also beat expectations, easing some concerns about the health of the world's second-biggest economy.
Trading week ahead
Traders will now have stock-specific news to focus on, rather than just macro headlines like interest rate hikes and the national election. A chunk of the S&P 500 will be reporting including:
Financials: Bank of America, Charles Schwab, Blackrock, Goldman Sachs, Synovus, Morgan Stanley, US Bank, American Express, Bank of New York Mellon, Fifth Third Bank, E-Trade.
Technology/telecom: IBM, Netflix, Intel, Seagate, eBay, Lam Research, Xilinx, Verizon, KLA-Tencor, Microsoft, PayPal.
Consumer: Hasbro, Domino's Pizza, Harley-Davidson, Philip Morris, Tupperware, Mattel, Walgreens, McDonald's, The Boston Beer Co.
Health care: UnitedHealth, Johnson & Johnson, St. Jude, athenahealth.
Industrial/conglomerates: Danaher, United Pacific, Nucor, Textron, General Electric, Honeywell.
"We have been in an earnings recession for the past five to six quarters, and this past quarter in July, I believe we saw an inflection point," said Bob Lang, founder and chief investment strategist of Explosiveoptions.net. "We could start to see improved earnings and momentum, and technology is going to be the star performer for this quarter and into 2017."
Four Federal Reserve Bank presidents are scheduled to speak at various events across the U.S., and investors will continue to look for clues into monetary policy and interest rate hike timing in their speeches. Traders are currently pricing in a 67 percent chance of a rate hike in December, according to the CME Group's FedWatch Tool.
Key economic data include: Industrial Production, Consumer Price Index, Housing Starts, Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, Existing Home Sales, and Crude Oil and Natural Gas Inventories.
The national election is just weeks away, and some analysts do not expect the markets to be affected just from the results alone.
"Despite the very real short-term risk of volatility and the potential policy uncertainties, the likely long-term outcome of the election is continued economic growth and consequent market gains," said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial Network. "It's normal and reasonable to react to short-term worries, but in the long run, any damage from the election is likely to be limited."