After a tumultuous week, U.S and European stock markets managed to close in the black. Asian markets staged a significant comeback from steep losses early in the week, but still finished down on the week. Gold rose modestly for the week, whereas oil posted a significant gain.
Stock markets around the globe slid early in the week and then plummeted on Thursday and Friday. The Dow entered correction territory, posting its worst two-day drop since the 2008 financial crisis. Explanations for the selloff included the impact of slowing global growth on corporate earnings, aftershocks from China’s currency devaluations and emerging market vulnerability to U.S. rate hikes. The only gainers for the week were gold and government bonds. The yield on the ten-year U.S. Treasury fell to 2.05%, reversing its August climb.
U.S. stocks traded sharply down midweek as China devalued its currency, a downdraft intensified by speculation about the timing of the first Fed rate hike in almost ten years. Still, positive U.S. economic news prompted a rebound of the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq for the week. In tandem with stocks, the yield on the ten-year U.S. Treasury fell sharply before finishing the week more or less where it started. Gold rose for the week, and oil fell.
An upbeat U.S. employment report on Friday seemed strong enough to justify an interest-rate hike later this year. Riskaverse sentiment continued as a result; U.S. and European markets declined for the week, whereas Asian markets generally posted gains.
Markets rallied for the week, reversing direction from last week’s drop, despite a fall-off on Friday. Friday’s decline was due to a disappointing reading of the Q2 Employment Cost Index (ECI), which was up only 0.2% versus expectations for a 0.6% increase. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen had recently cited the ECI as a sign of a tightening labor market. Treasuries rallied on the news, while the dollar came under pressure. Volatility persisted in Chinese equity markets, with the Shanghai exchange shedding 8.5% on Monday alone.
Markets were unable to maintain the prior week’s momentum as some high-profile earnings misses combined with global growth worries to put investors in a cautious mood. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq posted their worst weeks since March, while the DJIA had its worst since January. Gold hit a new five-year low, while crude oil is down more than 20% from June highs.
Markets breathed a sigh of relief as progress was made toward a deal that would keep Greece in the euro zone. The Nasdaq delivered its best week since October while hitting a new all-time intraday high, and the S&P 500 had its strongest performance in four months to close in on a new high of its own.
News out of Greece continued to dominate market sentiment, resulting in a volatile but mostly positive week for equities. The CBOE Volatility Index spiked to its highest levels since January before pulling back, while yield on the benchmark ten-year U.S. Treasury rose sharply to close the week after cratering on Wednesday. Looking abroad, Chinese stocks delivered their first positive week since the mid-June beginning of a selloff that slashed indexes by 30% or more.
It was another choppy — if abbreviated — week for equity markets, which ended mostly down. The S&P 500 delivered its biggest weekly loss in three months, unable to rebound from Monday’s Greece-inspired selloff. Yield on the benchmark ten-year U.S. Treasury pulled back from recent highs as investors sought safe havens in advance of Sunday’s Greek referendum.
Domestic equity markets were choppy on the week, as a lack of resolution to the latest Greek bailout talks had investors in a skittish mood despite decent economic data flow; the health care sector was a notable exception, however, surging as the Supreme Court upheld certain elements of the Affordable Care Act. Yield on the benchmark ten-year U.S. Treasury continued to edge higher, closing at the highest level in nearly nine months.