The Week In Review
The stock market endured a range-bound Friday, which was a fitting end to a quiet week. The S&P 500 settled lower by 0.2% after spending the day in a six-point range while the Nasdaq Composite (unch) outperformed slightly. For the week, the S&P 500 added 0.2% while the Nasdaq gained 0.8%.
Equity indices began the day with slim losses after the Core CPI for April (+0.3%; Briefing.com consensus 0.2%) showed the largest monthly increase since January 2013. The hotter than expected reading invited speculation that an uptick in inflation could provide ammunition for an argument favoring a rate hike in the near term, which kept a lid on equities today.
Furthermore, Fed Chair Janet Yellen spoke at the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce and reiterated that the central bank is ready to begin raising rates later this year. Once again, Ms. Yellen stated that in order to begin normalizing policy, the Fed needs to see continued improvements in labor market conditions and there needs to be reasonable confidence that inflation will move back toward the 2.0% target over the medium term.
Treasuries hit their session lows after Ms. Yellen's speech crossed the wires, but they returned to their intraday levels shortly thereafter. The 10-yr note settled in the middle of its intraday range, pushing the benchmark yield higher by two basis points to 2.21%.
Nine sectors ended the day in negative territory while technology (+0.02%) avoided a lower close by a hair and contributed to the daylong outperformance of the Nasdaq Composite. Shares of Apple (AAPL 132.54, +1.15) climbed 0.9%, underpinning the move, while Hewlett-Packard (HPQ 34.76, +0.93) gained 2.8% after reporting a one-cent beat and guiding Q3 earnings below consensus. Most other large cap sector members registered losses, but high-beta chipmakers offset some of that weakness with the PHLX Semiconductor Index adding 0.2%.
Elsewhere, industrials (-0.4%) lagged throughout the day with transport stocks responsible for the weakness. As a result, the Dow Jones Transportation Average fell 0.8%, extending this week's decline to 2.3%. The underperformance among transport names overshadowed a 4.3% spike in the shares of Deere (DE 93.33, +3.87) after the company beat bottom-line estimates on light revenue.
Similar to industrials, the energy sector (-0.4%) lagged throughout the day. Crude oil kept the sector under pressure, falling 1.7% to $59.66/bbl. For the week, WTI crude lost 1.5% while the energy sector fell 0.8%.
True to recent form, today's participation was well below average with just 604 million shares changing hands at the NYSE floor, which represented the lowest total observed so far in 2015.
Economic data was limited to the Consumer Price Index:
The CPI index increased an in-line 0.1% in April after increasing 0.2% in March
After two consecutive months of increases, energy prices again turned negative in April with total energy prices falling 1.3% after increasing 1.1% in March
Food prices were flat in April after declining 0.2% in March
Excluding food and energy, core CPI increased 0.3% in April after increasing 0.2% in March while the consensus expected an increase of 0.2%
That was the largest monthly increase in core prices since a 0.3% gain in January 2013
Bond and equity markets will be closed on Monday in observance of Memorial Day.
On Tuesday, April Durable Orders (Briefing.com consensus -0.6%) will be reported at 8:30 ET while the Case-Shiller 20-city Index for March (consensus 4.6%) and March FHFA Housing Price Index will both be released at 9:00 ET. The day's data will be topped off with the 10:00 ET release of April New Home Sales (consensus 510K) and the Consumer Confidence report for May (consensus 94.0).
Nasdaq Composite +7.5% YTD
Russell 2000 +4.0% YTD
S&P 500 +3.3% YTD
Dow Jones Industrial Average +2.3% YTD
Week in Review: Stocks Inch to Fresh Records
The stock market kicked off the trading week on an upbeat note. The Nasdaq Composite led the way, climbing 0.6%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) and S&P 500 (+0.3%) underperformed, but still registered new record closing highs. The first session of the week featured a range-bound opening hour that was followed by a steady advance. Heavily-weighted financials (+0.5%) and health care (+0.5%) displayed relative strength from the start while another influential group—technology (+0.4%)—climbed ahead of the market during the early afternoon.
The major averages ended the Tuesday session on an unchanged note after spending the entire day near their flat lines. The S&P 500 settled lower by 0.1% while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) outperformed slightly, edging up to another record closing high. Overall, the Tuesday session was a snoozer that saw the benchmark index bounce inside a five-point range that was expanded to nine points by the close. The index was able to set a fresh intraday record high at 2,133.02 during the afternoon, but returned near its session low by the close. For the second day in a row, heavily-weighted health care (+0.5%) and financials (+0.7%) outperformed throughout the day and kept the benchmark index from dipping too far below its flat line. The health care sector outperformed even as biotechnology struggled to keep pace with the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 360.60, +0.30) adding just 0.1%.
The market finished the midweek session on a flat note. The S&P 500 shed 0.1%, but still marked a fresh intraday record high at 2,134.72 while the Nasdaq Composite (unch) outperformed. Equity indices spent the first half of the session near their flat lines with the S&P 500 maintaining a seven-point range that was violated to the upside during afternoon action once the Federal Open Market Committee released the minutes from its April policy meeting. The index could not hold its afternoon gain and returned to the flat line by the close. Above all, the minutes revealed that some participants believed that the weakness observed in the first quarter could extend into Q2 with many officials characterizing a rate hike in June as "unlikely." However, the minutes did not rule out a near-term rate hike in its entirety. Treasuries retreated immediately following the release, but they returned to their afternoon levels shortly thereafter. The 10-yr note settled near its high with the benchmark yield slipping four basis points to 2.25%.
Equity indices posted modest gain on Thursday, but the trading day was very quiet once again. The S&P 500 added 0.2% and settled at a new record high while the Nasdaq Composite (+0.4%) outperformed. The market spent the initial minutes of the session near its flat line, but climbed to highs after the Existing Home Sales report for April (5.04 million; Briefing.com consensus 5.24 million) and the May Philadelphia Fed Survey ( 6.7; Briefing.com consensus 8.0) missed estimates. The ensuing advance was accompanied by a rally in Treasuries, suggesting increased expectations that the Federal Reserve will maintain its current dovish stance. Treasuries continued climbing into the afternoon (10-yr yield -6 bps to 2.19%) while the major averages spent the day near their late-morning highs.