First quarter earnings season kicked into high gear this week and investors were treated to a smorgasbord of blue-chip results across a range of industries. As they typically do, numbers for most companies have exceeded Wall Street expectations, but with almost 20 percent of the S&P 500 now having reported, the .75:1 ratio of “beats” is modestly better than where it has been over the last several quarters.
For the shortened holiday week, equity markets were down by almost 1 percent as investors followed events in Russia and North Korea. Interest rates were lower with the 10-year Treasury declining in yield from 2.36 to 2.22 percent.
Equity markets were relatively flat on the week as economic data was weighed against global events. Interest rates continued their slow trend downward with the 10-year U.S. Treasury finishing the week at a 2.32 percent yield.
Most markets, international stocks and the U.S. Dollar ended the week near where they started. Stocks are quietly ending a strong first quarter, with this week leaving the S&P 500 up a little over 1 percent and the Dow Jones up about 0.5 percent.
Stocks sold off this week as Congress debated the replacement bill for Obamacare. The S&P 500 was down a little over 1 percent over the past five sessions. Bonds rallied on stock weakness with the 10-year Treasury finishing the week at a 2.40 percent yield.
As traders were nursing their wounds from early bracket pains, the market saw that U.S. stocks were muted this week, up 0.2 percent. Investors’ reactions to finally getting the anticipated Fed rate hike were tempered by oil production figures from OPEC, causing concern early in the week.
This week, investors recognized the 8-year anniversary of a bull market that is now second only in length to the tech-fueled run of the 1990s. In March, blue chip stocks consolidated a small portion of recent gains, but nevertheless, the S&P 500 has now returned over 250 percent since the bear market lows in March of 2009.
Stocks posted a 0.5 percent return this week as investors became more confident in economic and fiscal policies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average passed 21,000 for the first time and equities posted their first 1 percent day in over four months.
Stocks ended the week marginally higher as U.S. economic data continued to generate positive headlines. Though regional manufacturing surveys around the U.S. are showing improving growth, retail earnings this week were mixed as some companies cited that delays in tax returns were effecting spending. As tax refunds are running $60 billion below average thus far this year.
For the week, the equity markets were higher by about 1.15 percent as investors absorbed Janet Yellen's testimony to Congress and the stronger-than-expected economic data that was posted. Interest rates were higher with the 10-year U.S. Treasury climbing in yield from 2.39 percent to 2.41 percent.
It was another solid week in the markets. The S&P 500 was up almost 1 percent to record highs. Interest rates were relatively quiet with the 10-year Treasury finishing the week yielding 2.40 percent. Oil rallied modestly and is now up to $54.00 per barrel.
Friday’s jobs numbers propelled stocks to roughly break even on the week. While the gain of 227,000 jobs in January was meaningfully above the estimate of 175,000, the unemployment rate ticked up and wage growth ticked down. The increase from 4.7 percent to 4.8 percent in the unemployment rate was due to more people entering the labor force, thus not much of a negative.
The equity markets were higher by about 1.3 percent compared to last week as investors absorbed fourth quarter earnings and reacted to the changes in Washington. Interest rates were higher, with the 10-year Treasury climbing in yield from 2.39 percent to 2.49 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed 20,000 this week but the real story is how long it took to get here.
What has become known as the Trump Trade has delivered strong equity returns since election day last fall, with the benchmark S&P 500 rising by 6.5 percent over this period. More remarkable is the fact that the blue chip index hasn’t experienced a 1 percent or greater loss since October 11, 2016.
After rallying into the end of the year, both interest rates and the market took a little breather this week. The S&P 500 finished the week basically flat, while the yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury finished at 2.40 percent. A quiet week as we head into earnings season.