Stock Market Today (7/12/22): Stocks End Lower Ahead of Major Inflation Update – Kiplinger's Personal Finance

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Broader markets bounced around Tuesday as investors waited for guidance from a pair of impending market catalysts: the latest inflation data and the start of second-quarter earnings season
As for tomorrow morning's release of the June consumer price index (CPI), "it does seem that the market is pretty well prepared for a hot number at least from a headline perspective," says Michael Reinking, senior market strategist for the New York Stock Exchange. "Street estimates are calling for headline CPI to be up more than 1% on a monthly basis, with some calls that the year-over-year increase could be as high as 9%."
Reinking adds that a big driver of inflation will likely be oil prices, which peaked in the middle of the month and have moved sharply lower since. Indeed, U.S. crude futures plummeted 7.9% today to settle at $95.84 per barrel as China's latest round of COVID-related restrictions sparked concerns over slowing oil demand, and are now down more than 21% from their June peak above the $122 per-barrel mark.
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Not surprisingly, energy (-2.0%) was the worst performing sector today, with APA (APA, -5.2%) and Occidental Petroleum (OXY, -3.6%) among the biggest decliners.
The weakness in energy stocks weighed on the broader S&P 500 Index (-0.9% at 3,818), while the Nasdaq Composite also finished lower (-1.0% at 11,264). The Dow Jones Industrial Average, meanwhile, spent most of the day higher as blue chip Boeing (BA) jumped 7.4% on solid Q2 delivery data, but ended the day down 0.6% at 30,981.
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Other news in the stock market today:
Higher inflation will likely continue to weigh on how consumers are feeling about the economy – as well as their willingness to open their wallets. While the latest credit and debit card spending data from BofA Data Analytics shows that total retail spending, excluding auto, was up 25% in June over the same period in 2019, it also revealed that most of this rise was due to higher prices. In fact, all categories they track outside of jewelry were down on a month-to-month basis. 
This, of course, is creating headwinds for many consumer-facing companies, which are only being compounded by dwindling COVID-related stimulus, rising input costs and worker shortages, says Wells Fargo Advisors analyst Brian Postol. 
But not all hope is lost, and Postol believes "blue skies are faintly appearing in the distance, and brighter days will return." The analyst sees demand building across many pockets of the consumer discretionary sector, including automotive retail and e-commerce. 
And with the sector down more than 30% so far in 2022, investors have plenty of opportunity to find some solid consumer discretionary plays at a bargain. Read on as we explore the best consumer discretionary stocks to buy for the rest of 2022. 
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