Notes Along the Path: Market Update for week 11

Gordon Achtermann |

Market Update for Week 11

The S&P 500 index edged down 0.1% this week as investors digested higher-than-expected inflation readings for February.

The S&P 500 ended the week at 5,117.09, its second consecutive weekly loss. The market benchmark is still up 0.4% for the month and 7.3% for the year.

US consumer prices for February were up 3.2% year-over-year, slightly above a 3.1% increase in January and the consensus estimate for a 3.1% increase. The US producer price index was up 1.6% on an annual basis last month after a 1% increase in January. Analysts were projecting growth of 1.2%.

Market watchers believe the inflation data may lead the Federal Reserve to keep its policy rate on hold until members see further signs that price growth is trending lower.

The real estate sector had the largest percentage drop of the week, down 3.1%, followed by a 1.2% decline in consumer discretionary. Other sectors that fell included health care, utilities, technology and industrials.

Decliners in the real estate sector included shares of Equinix (EQIX), which fell 6.6%. The digital infrastructure company named Google Cloud Go-to-Market President Adaire Fox-Martin as its new president and chief executive. Its current president and chief executive, Charles Meyers, will transition to the role of executive chairman effective in late Q2.

In consumer discretionary, shares of Tesla (TSLA) shed 6.7% after a UBS report said the electric vehicle manufacturer's deliveries are tracking lower than initially forecast amid weak electric-vehicle demand and slower production in North America and Europe.

On the upside, however, the energy sector jumped 3.7%, followed by a 1.5% rise in materials. Other gainers included communication services, consumer staples and financials.

The energy sector's climb came as crude oil futures also rose.

Gainers included shares of Valero Energy (VLO), which received an investment rating upgrade to buy from neutral from BofA Securities. BofA also raised its price target on Valero's stock to $210 per share from $156. Valero's shares rose 9.5%.


Bond Update:

The 10-year Treasury yield saw its biggest weekly advance since October after hot U.S. data. I.e., a higher-than-expected inflation reading.

That's good news if you own money market funds or are about to roll over a CD, but bad news if you own a traditional bond fund. Since bond prices move in an inverse relationship to interest rates the yield increase means bond prices went down.

Why did the yield (interest rate) go up? Traders' expectations for interest rate cuts this year were tamped down by the inflation data.

Current Yield Curve:


Up Next:

Attention next week will be on the Federal Reserve as its policy-setting committee will have a two-day meeting that will conclude on Wednesday with an interest-rate decision. Economic reports will be heavy on housing data, with the February home builder confidence index due on Monday, February housing starts and building permits on Tuesday and February existing home sales on Friday.

I don't expect any change in Fed policy, but oftentimes their comments about the future move markets.


All the Best!

Gordon Achtermann, CFP®