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Equities Continue Run During A Shortened Week

Equities


US equities delivered positive returns during this abbreviated trading week. All three indexes were higher, with the best performer being the Dow, while the Nasdaq lagged. The S&P 500 finished the week above the 3,000 level for the first time since early March. The small cap Russell 2000 along with the mid-cap S&P 400 Index enjoyed positive weeks, with both indexes returning over 2%.

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“The S&P 500 has incredibly bounced more than 35% from the March lows,” explained LPL Financial Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick. “Which would be the best bear market rally ever, suggesting this very well isn’t a bear market bounce, but the start of a new uptrend.”

The story of the week was a sharp rotation in the beaten up value sectors early on, as financials gained more than 6%, closely followed by real estate and industrials. Energy was the worst performing sector as oil price gains stalled, while communication services was the only other sector to lose ground on the week.

Looking at style, large cap value stocks beat out large cap growth by over 2% for the week.

Amid ongoing COVID-19 disruptions, labor and foreign policy challenges, along with risks associated with reopening the economy, US equities maintained their strength. Several timely indicators have pointed to a pickup in economic activity, such as an increase in new home sales along with an unexpected increase in consumer confidence. Our research suggests that second quarter gross domestic product (GDP) could contract as much as 30% annualized, but global progress in reopening economies combined with massive stimulus measures point to a potentially strong rebound in the third and fourth quarters.

International Stocks

The MSCI EAFE and the MSCI Emerging Markets Indexes continued its upward quest from the previous week, with the developed markets outperforming emerging markets by over 3%Given the news out of Hong Kong last week as well as the Hang Seng’s struggles last Friday, its market rebounded modestly to finish up only a fraction this week. With the new changes in Hong Kong’s security laws, many are pondering the future of the nation/state as a global financial hub.

The action by China in Hong Kong concerning its sovereignty caused Washington to move toward placing actions against Beijing. Moreover, White House Economic Advisor Larry Kudlow added that the US may pay for companies to bring its supply chains from China and Hong Kong to the U.S.

European markets were higher this week, with the STOXX Europe 600 Index up over 3%. As in the United States, investors are concerned with COVID-19 and the subsequent reopening of the European economy, but European stocks have held steady, as the pandemic has been slowing and countries are opening back up. Fiscal stimulus is in the air overseas, as the European Commission is reportedly set to propose a 750 billion euro recovery package, while Japan is finishing a $1.1 trillion stimulus package.

Fixed Income and Commodities

Fixed income prices were little changed on the week, with the 10-year Treasury yield remaining under 0.70%. Credit spreads tightened modestly as investors appear optimistic about the prospects of reopening the US economy as well as a potential pickup in economic activity.

Investment grade corporate debt issuance set a new record this week, with total new issues surpassing $1 trillion in just 149 days. This is a milestone typically reached in the second half of the year, as the Federal Reserve programs have suppressed yields, allowing corporations easier access to funding.

Last month showed a record drop in consumer spending of over 13%, however personal savings enjoyed its largest surge ever at 33%. Once the economy reopens, we should expect these trends to reverse, which would thus help the economic landscape.

Oil prices contracted modestly with July contracts for WTI crude posting a decline of about 2% for the week. Gold finished up a fraction, consolidating following an impressive rally of nearly 15% year to date.

Looking Ahead

Economic data for next week begins with the Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index data along with the ISM Manufacturing survey and construction spending on Monday. Contractions are expected in both given the present climate. Wednesday is all about the autos, as we get total number of cars and trucks sold in May. The consensus, according to Factset, is that 11 million total vehicles were sold last month.

On Thursday, we receive new unemployment claims with optimism that the recent lower trend of claims continues. Also, we will get data on labor productivity along with the trade balance. To end the shortened week, Friday’s reports will include non-farm payrolls along with the unemployment rate.