Week In Review: Bouncing Back
The equity market rallied this week, reclaiming about half of the losses it registered over the previous two weeks. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 5.3% as technology shares outperformed, while the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 4.3% apiece. The S&P 500 and the Dow ended Friday on a six-session winning streak.
This week's gains put the S&P 500, the Nasdaq, and the Dow back into the green for the year and back above their respective 50-day simple moving averages. They're still a ways below record territory, however, settling Friday about 5.0% beneath the record highs they posted on January 26.
11 of 11 S&P 500 sectors finished the week in positive territory, with gains ranging between 1.8% and 5.8%. The top-weighted technology group (+5.8%) was the strongest sector, while the energy (+1.9%), utilities (+2.9%), telecom services (+2.4%), and real estate (+1.8%) groups were the weakest.
In general, cyclical sectors, which tend to do well when the economic outlook is favorable, outperformed their countercyclical peers.
Within the tech group, Apple (AAPL), surged 10.2% this week, reclaiming most of the 13.5% it lost between January 18 and February 8, and Cisco Systems (CSCO) rallied 4.7% on Thursday--hitting its best level in nearly 20 years--after reporting better-than-expected profits for the quarter ending in January and raising its earnings and revenue guidance.
Investors received a big batch of economic data this week, highlighted by a hotter-than-expected CPI reading: the Consumer Price Index increased 0.5% month over month in January (Briefing.com consensus +0.4%) and the core CPI, which excludes food and energy, rose by 0.3% (Briefing.com consensus +0.2%). The headline month-over-month figures sparked a knee-jerk reaction from the market, which has been fighting fears of inflation--and, in turn, fears of a more hawkish Fed--in recent weeks.
However, the year-over-year figures helped restore order and keep the week's upward trajectory intact, showing that both the CPI and the core CPI are still within a range they've held to for some time; the total CPI is up 2.1% year over year and has been between 2.0% and 2.2% for five months, while the core CPI is up 1.8% year over year and has been between 1.7% and 1.9% for ten months.
The yield on the benchmark 10-yr Treasury note climbed to a four-year high on Wednesday following the CPI release, closing at 2.91%, but gave up some ground on Thursday and Friday to finish the week little changed at 2.88%. Meanwhile, the 2-yr yield climbed 12 basis points this week, closing at 2.19%--its highest level in nearly a decade.
Meanwhile, in the currency market, the U.S. Dollar Index returned to a three-year low on Thursday (88.50), but bounced back a bit on Friday to finish the week with a loss of 1.4%. The greenback showed particular weakness against the Japanese yen, dropping 2.4% to 106.22, which is its lowest level since November 2016.
In Washington, the White House released its infrastructure plan on Monday, which is designed to stimulate $1.5 trillion in spending over a decade.
U.S. markets will be closed on Monday in observance of Presidents' Day.
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