• The S&P 500® was up 3.60% in July, bringing the YTD return to 5.34%.
• The Dow Jones Industrial Average® gained 4.71% for the month and was up 2.82% YTD.
• The S&P MidCap 400® was up 1.68% for the month and up 4.42% YTD.
• The S&P SmallCap 600® was up 3.10% in July and up 12.03% YTD.
We are all just big kids (even the few of us who actually matured), and every kid loves a three-ring circus, which is exactly what we had this month. By the end of the month, the kids were leaving with happy faces for their August summer holiday schedule (for the few) or a short break (for most of us who didn’t take it in July) to celebrate a fourth consecutive month of gains (6.64% cumulative), with July being the best (3.60%). These four months just happen to coincide with the impact of the new reduced tax rate schedule, which was quantified as a blow-out Q1 2018 earnings record (and stronger-than-expected sales), and the current Q2 2018 earnings season, which, to date (based on the 74.8% of issues that have reported), has produced an unusually high beat rate (80% versus the historical 67% rate), along with a second consecutive quarter of higher sales (10.3% year-over-year, which may set a record), as well as record margins. Not that earnings have always been something to tweet (Twitter [TWTR]; still up 32.7% YTD after July’s 27.0% decline) or Facebook (FB; off 2.2% YTD, after July’s 11.2% loss) about, but the bottom line was much higher (especially at Amazon [AMZN]; up 4.6% for July and up 52.0% YTD), with optimism again running high (the S&P 500 was 1.97% away from a new closing high; the last was Jan. 26, 2018, at 2,872.87).