• J. J. Wenrich CFP®

Weekly Market Performance – Markets Digest Earnings And Policy Measures

Market Blog


Index Performance


U.S. and International Equities

The major US markets were mostly lower this week. Some sectors were unable to overcome concerns about higher capital gains tax rates in the wake of positive earnings results. Markets overseas finished lower, with both developed international markets (MSCI EAFE) and emerging market equities (MSCI EM) giving back ground.


Energy Steams Forward

Energy was the top performing sector this week, completely reversing its position as the worst performing sector from a week ago. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude along with natural gas’ recent performance has influenced the sector’s performance.


Earnings, Earnings, Earnings

As earning results have been reported, S&P 500 earnings per share (EPS) estimates for the next 12 months have increased by almost 4%. When looking overseas, developed international markets (MSCI EAFE) and emerging markets (MSCI EM) 12-month forward earnings expectations have both strengthened about 5%. Year to date, 2021 earnings growth estimates for all three indexes have risen over 10 percentage points.


While developed international earnings were hit harder than the US and the emerging markets during COVID-19, we believe the earnings gap may begin to narrow.


“Although we expected a solid earnings season, little did we realize that companies would beat the high bar with relative ease,” explained LPL Financial Chief Investment Officer Burt White. “In fact, in the U.S. companies are beating earning expectations at a record pace, but the good news is the rest of the world is seeing explosive growth as well.”


Fixed Income Recap

Bonds, as represented by the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate, lost marginal ground this week as the 10-year Treasury yield moved slightly higher, reversing its three week run. High yield bonds, as denoted by the Bloomberg Barclays High Yield index, gained ground this week, reversing last week’s decline.


Commodities

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil reversed course from last week to finish the week higher. Copper enjoyed another strong week as industrial metals shine as the economy reopens. DXY, the U.S. Dollar Index, strengthened this week, reversing its two-week decline.


Natural Gas Ignites in April

Natural gas has seen the vast majority of its 2021 gains this month, returning over 7% just this week. Production declines along with pipeline maintenance have influenced prices. Moreover, current natural gas inventories presently remain below the 5-year historical average.


U.S. Economic Data Recap


GDP

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that the US economy grew over 6% in the first quarter but slightly less than the Bloomberg consensus forecast. Personal consumption, which is the largest part of the economy, increased over 10% and grew at its second fastest pace since the 1960s.


Fed Talk

This week, the Federal Reserve (Fed) reiterated its present monetary policy stance and kept the Federal Funds Rate near zero. In addition, the Fed is planning to continue its quantitative easing efforts. Fed Chair Jerome Powell stuck to his talking points in his press conference, stating that rising inflation was due to transitory factors and that the economy would need to make substantial progress before the Fed would consider reversing present monetary policy.


Jobless Claims Continue to Decline

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, over 550,000 Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week, which was slightly higher than the Bloomberg consensus. Continuing claims were slightly higher than consensus but improved slightly over the previous week. Overall, the data still suggests marginal improvement in the labor market.


Next week, the following economic data is slated to be released:

  • Monday: March construction spending, April Institute for Supply Management report

  • Tuesday: March trade balance, March durable goods and factory orders, March wholesale inventories, April Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index

  • Wednesday: March Markit Services Purchasing Managers’ Index, April Institute for Supply Management Non-Manufacturing index, April ADP employment survey

  • Thursday: Weekly initial and continuing claims, Q1 Unit Labor Costs and Productivity

  • Friday: April Unemployment Rate, April nonfarm and manufacturing payrolls, April hourly earnings and average workweek

First quarter earnings season will continue with more than 130 companies reporting earnings results.




IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES


This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change.


References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All market and index data comes from FactSet and MarketWatch.


Any company names noted herein are for educational purposes only and not an indication of trading intent or a solicitation of their products or services. LPL Financial doesn’t provide research on individual equities. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

U.S. Treasuries may be considered “safe haven” investments but do carry some degree of risk including interest rate, credit, and market risk. Bonds are subject to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rates rise and bonds are subject to availability and change in price.


For a list of descriptions of the indexes referenced in this publication, please visit our website at lplresearch.com/definitions.


This Research material was prepared by LPL Financial LLC.


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