Weekly Commentary

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Monday, August 17, 2015

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.

Monday, August 10, 2015

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.

Monday, August 3, 2015

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.

Monday, July 27, 2015

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.

Monday, July 20, 2015

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.

Monday, July 13, 2015

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.

Monday, July 6, 2015

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.

Monday, June 29, 2015

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.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Despite trailing off on Friday, domestic equity markets delivered their best week in some time thanks in part to a dovish Fed. Chinese exchanges, in contrast, were pummeled as investors fearful of a bubble sent stocks there to the worst week in more than seven years.

Monday, June 15, 2015

U.S. stocks broadly declined for the week, pressured by the sell-off of European stocks as Greece’s debt-default drama intensified. Only the S&P 500 index managed to break even. Asian stocks were mixed, buffeted by U.S. bond market volatility and by worries about a U.S. rate increase, which cut investment flows into emerging markets.

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