The Week on Wall Street
The stock market experienced solid gains last week, concluding the trading week on a positive note, thanks to robust corporate reports and favorable inflation news; this propelled the S&P 500 Index to achieve a new record high at the end of the week.
S&P Tops 5,000
At the start of last week’s trading, stocks faced downward pressure due to comments by Fed Chair Powell over the weekend, signaling that the Federal Reserve had no immediate plans to initiate interest rate cuts. Consequently, the yield on the two-year U.S. Treasury note, highly influenced by monetary policy, increased to its highest level in two months.1
By the end of trading on Monday, stocks had regained a significant portion of their previous losses. Influencing this market rally were positive corporate earnings reports. This trend continued throughout the week, contributing to the overall market momentum. By Friday, 67% of the companies listed in the S&P 500 had released their Q4 results, and an impressive 77% of those companies exceeded earnings expectations.2
Investors expressed enthusiasm on Friday after a report indicating that December’s inflation was lower than initially anticipated. This positive news revitalized buying activity, resulting in the S&P 500 surpassing 5,000 for the first time.3
The strength of the U.S. economy has come into the spotlight. An analysis conducted by The Wall Street Journal recently proposed that the economy’s resilience could be attributed, at least in part, to the productivity driven by the technology sector.4
What might rein in that productivity? One possible influence could be the increase in oil prices witnessed last week. Additionally, shipping companies have been imposing surcharges for several months to mitigate recent conflict, and these charges may contribute to global inflation this year, potentially dampening investor enthusiasm.5
If a single-engine airplane taxied not onto a runway but onto an enormous conveyor belt whose speed precisely equaled that of the plane in the opposite direction, could the plane still manage to take off?
Last week’s riddle: Two men played five games of chess in the park. They both won the same number of games, yet none of the games they played ended in a draw. So how could this be?
Answer: They were not playing each other.
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