Rate Concerns Weigh on Stocks
Stocks opened last week higher on investor hopes that a continued cooling in inflation might support a more dovish Fed. A higher-than-expected rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and strong retail sales in January initially did little to dent that enthusiasm, as stocks posted solid gains through Wednesday’s close.
But that optimism faded on Thursday as a surprising rise in producer prices and another decline in initial jobless claims triggered worries the Fed would stay the course for longer. Comments from two Fed officials supporting a more aggressive rate hike stance added to the unease, erasing much of the week’s gains. Stocks ended mixed on Friday, capping a choppy week.
The NASDAQ lead the major indices with a 0.63% increase last week, trailed by the Dow Jones returning 0.02% and the S&P 500 declining -0.20%.
Small cap was the big winner last week, returning 1.47%.
International stocks underperformed domestic indices with the MSCI EAFE and MSCI EM returning 0.12% and -1.38% respectively.
Bonds were negative for the week, with the Bloomberg U.S. Agg Bond Index declining -0.47 %, while the U.S. High Yield dropped -0.88%, and the Bloomberg Global Aggregate Index dropped -0.95%.
Brazil celebrates its return to full-scale Carnival festivities: Brazil's Carnival festivities officially began on Friday, with the government expecting 46 million people to join in the celebration. This year's festivities are a return to the pre-pandemic celebrations, with 600 permits awarded for street parties known as "blocos" in Rio de Janeiro alone. The festivities are expected to bring in an economic boost of about $1 billion for businesses such as bars and hotels. The country had to cancel Carnival in 2021 for the first time in a century and delayed the festivities for two months in 2022 due to the pandemic. Preparation for Carnival can begin nearly a year in advance and includes work from carpenters, electricians, costume makers and choreographers. The festivities involve costumes, parades, and street parties and will last until February 22.2
Reprinted with permission from BTN. Copyright © 2023 Michael A. Higley.
1 Data Obtained from Morningstar as of 2/17/2023
CPI (headline and core): Consumer prices (CPI) are a measure of prices paid by consumers for a market basket of consumer goods and services. The yearly (or monthly) growth rates represent the inflation rate.
Retail Sales: Retail sales (also referred to as retail trade) tracks the resale of new and used goods to the general public, for personal or household consumption. This concept is based on the value of goods sold.
Industrial Production: The industrial production (IP) index measures the real output of all relevant establishments located in the United States, regardless of their ownership, but not those located in U.S. territories.
Manufacturing Production: Manufacturing production measures the real output of establishments focused on manufacturing activities.
Initial Jobless Claims: Initial unemployment claims track the number of people who have filed jobless claims for the first time during the specified period with the appropriate government labor office. This number represents an inflow of people receiving unemployment benefits.
Continuing Jobless Claims: Continuing claims are the number of people filing for unemployment benefits who have already filed an initial claim. To be included in continuing claims, the person must be covered by unemployment insurance and must be currently receiving benefits. They must have been unemployed for at least a week after filing the initial claim, per Department of Labor (DoL) specifications.
Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI): Leading indicators include economic variables that tend to move before changes in the overall economy. These indicators give a sense of the future state of an economy.
Federal Reserve (Fed): The Federal Reserve System is the central banking system of the United States of America.
Federal Funds Rates (Fed Funds rate): The Federal funds rate refers to the target interest rate set by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). This target is the rate at which commercial banks borrow and lend their excess reserves to each other overnight.
PCE (headline and core): PCE deflators (or personal consumption expenditure deflators) track overall price changes for goods and services purchased by consumers. Deflators are calculated by dividing the appropriate nominal series by the corresponding real series and multiplying by 100.
Personal Income: Consumer or Household Income (often referred to as personal income) tracks all income received by households including such things as wages and salaries, investment income, rental income, transfer payments, etc. This concept is not adjusted for inflation.
Personal Spending: Consumer or Household Spending (also referred to as consumption) tracks consumer expenditures on goods and services. This concept is not adjusted for inflation.
S&P 500: The S&P 500® is widely regarded as the best single gauge of large-cap U.S. equities and serves as the foundation for a wide range of investment products. The index includes 500 leading companies and captures approximately 80% coverage of available market capitalization.
NASDAQ: The NASDAQ Composite Index is a broad-based capitalization-weighted index of stocks in all three NASDAQ tiers: Global Select, Global Market and Capital Market. The index was developed with a base level of 100 as of February 5, 1971.
Dow Jones Industrial Average: The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 blue-chip stocks that are generally the leaders in their industry. It has been a widely followed indicator of the stock market since October 1, 1928.
Russell Mid-Cap: Russell Midcap Index measures the performance of the 800 smallest companies in the Russell 1000 Index, which represent approximately 25% of the total market capitalization of the Russell 1000 Index.
Russell 2000: The Russell 2000 Index is comprised of the smallest 2000 companies in the Russell 3000 Index, representing approximately 8% of the Russell 3000 total market capitalization. The real-time value is calculated with a base value of 135.00 as of December 31, 1986. The end-of-day value is calculated with a base value of 100.00 as of December 29, 1978.
MSCI EAFE: The MSCI EAFE Index is a free-float weighted equity index. The index was developed with a base value of 100 as of December 31, 1969. The MSCI EAFE region covers DM countries in Europe, Australasia, Israel, and the Far East.
MSCI EM: The MSCI EM (Emerging Markets) Index is a free-float weighted equity index that captures large and mid-cap representation across Emerging Markets (EM) countries. The index covers approximately 85% of the free float-adjusted market capitalization in each country.
Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Agg Bond: The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index is a broad-based flagship benchmark that measures the investment grade, U.S. dollar-denominated, fixed-rate taxable bond market. The index includes Treasuries, government-related and corporate securities, MBS (agency fixed-rate pass-throughs), ABS and CMBS (agency and non-agency).
Bloomberg Barclays High Yield Corp: The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate High Yield Bond Index measures the USD-denominated, high yield, fixed-rate corporate bond market. Securities are classified as high yield if the middle rating of Moody's, Fitch and S&P is Ba1/BB+/BB+ or below. Bonds from issuers with an emerging markets country of risk, based on Barclays EM country definition, are excluded.
Bloomberg Barclays Global Agg: The Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index is a flagship measure of global investment grade debt from twenty-four local currency markets. This multi-currency benchmark includes treasury, government-related, corporate and securitized fixed-rate bonds from both developed and emerging markets issuers.
Bloomberg Barclays Municipal Bond Index: The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Municipal Index covers the USD-denominated long-term tax-exempt bond market. The index has four main sectors: state and local general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, insured bonds and prerefunded bonds.
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