Market Data as of Week Ending: 4/16/2021 unless noted otherwise
U.S. stock markets continued their rally last week, notching gains for a third-straight week as most of the major indices surged to record highs. Earnings season kicked off last week on positive note as corporate profits for several mega and regional banks comfortably exceeded estimates. S&P 500 earnings are expected to grow almost 25% in the first quarter, the strongest growth rate since 2018. Medium and large sized companies outperformed their small company peers while growth stocks outperformed value. Gains in Materials and Health Care were met with some softness in Information Technology and Industrials. Developed foreign stocks in Europe and Asia outperformed U.S stocks and Emerging Market stocks, as the index traded near record highs.
U.S. Treasury yields declined last week as the 10-year Treasury finished 9bps lower at 1.57%, its lowest level in nearly a month. Long duration government bonds were the best performing asset class while short-term government bonds were the worst performing asset class but still managed to deliver a small gain. Investment grade corporate bonds ended the week yielding just over 2.2% and high yield corporate bonds are yielding just below 4.8%.
Economic data released during the week was generally positive. The NFIB small-business index rose to a pandemic-high of 98.2 in March, reflecting growing optimism among small-business owners. U.S. consumer prices surged in March as the CPI jumped 0.6%, pushing inflation to 2.6% over the past year. U.S. unemployment claims sank by 193,000 to a pandemic low of 576,000 in early April. Retail sales rose nearly 10% in March, the second largest gain on record, as the new round of stimulus checks helped boost spending. Economic data from China continues to be positive as the country announced an 18.3% rise in first-quarter GDP on a year-over-year basis – its largest quarterly growth rate on record.