Following the stock market’s first correction since the Chinese growth scare two years ago, blue-chip stocks have rebounded furiously, producing the best week of returns since December of 2011. Investors spooked by the rapid descent of stock prices earlier this month are now scrambling to get back in.
This week we experienced something we haven’t in some time: a down week. Stocks struggled to a close, down 3.8 percent with no help from blue-chip names. Alphabet (GOOGL) and Apple reports weren’t favored by Wall Street, driving the stocks down 5.2 and 4.3 percent, respectively.
Equity markets finished the week up by 1.5 percent, and now are up almost 7 percent for the year. This is the 4th best start to the year for the S&P 500. The U.S. Treasury 10-year bond yield continued its march higher by 6 basis points, finishing at 2.65 percent.
Global equity markets continued their hot start to the year with the S&P gaining 0.6 percent, Europe 1.25 percent and emerging markets up 1.65 percent. On the other hand, bonds declined slightly as interest rates moved higher with the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield finishing the week at 2.63 percent, its highest level since last spring.
U.S. stocks continued their upward climb this week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Index trading above 25,775 and the S&P 500 rising approximately 1.5 percent for the week. The U.S. dollar traded off relative to the euro, which surged to a three-year high of $1.21.
Stocks picked up where they left off in 2017, rising across market caps and geographies for each of the first four trading days of the new year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average eclipsed the 25,000 mark this week and it took just 23 trading days to gain its latest 1,000 points—the fastest such gain in index history.
Stocks finished the last week of December relatively flat resulting in a 20+ percent total return for the S&P 500 for 2017. Interest rates were steady with the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury ending the year at 2.41 percent, down slightly from a year ago.
This week the S&P 500 was up slightly as investors focused on the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which was signed into law by President Trump on Friday morning. Conversely, bonds sold off with interest rates moving higher with the 10-year U.S. Treasury increasing in yield from 2.39 percent to 2.48 percent, which is a substantial move in the span of a week. Bond investors are anticipating an increase in Treasury bond issuance with expected increased deficit spending due to the tax law.
Markets moved modestly higher this week with domestic stocks up nearly 1 percent and the benchmark 10-year Treasury was off 2 basis points. As if held up by a mysterious force, Bitcoin set a new high Friday just shy of 18,000.
Stocks climbed in the U.S., Asia and Europe as the U.S. government averted a shut down and the jobs report reinforced optimism. The U.S. added 228,000 jobs in the month of November, higher than the expected addition of 195,000 jobs, due to an accelerating hiring trend which economists expect to continue into the next year. The S&P 500 hit new highs today, trading above 2,650.
It was an eventful week in Washington and on Wall Street. Republicans appeared to be moving along on the tax bill, but a hiccup occurred Thursday evening that has delayed voting until sometime next week. Strong economic data and hopes for a corporate tax cut led the S&P higher by 1.6 percent this week.
Volatility returned to the markets this week with the S&P 500 declining by about one percent as investors followed political events in Washington, D.C. Interest rates were lower with the 10-year U.S. Treasury declining in yield from 2.36 percent to 2.22 percent.
After eight consecutive weeks of positive returns, the S&P 500 declined by 0.25 percent as investors digest another solid earnings season and evaluate the implications and likelihood of the “Jobs Act” becoming law. To add to the confusion, there are substantial differences between the House and Senate version of the bill released on Thursday.