US Equity Markets remained upbeat last week, as positive developments around two possible vaccine candidates for COVID-19 encouraged investors. The S&P 500 was up 1.3% for the week and is now only down a fractional 0.2% for the year. There was finally some profit-taking in the large-cap Technology stocks that comprise a large percentage of the Nasdaq, which declined 1.1% for the week but remains up a robust 17.1% for the year. The Russell 2000 (small-cap stocks) rallied nicely last week, up 3.6%, though it continues to lag the other indices, down 11.7% for the year.
Global Equity Markets were mixed last week, as investors cheered renewed prospects for increased economic stimulus measures in Europe, offset by renewed tensions between the US and China. Developed Markets rose 2.2% for the week thanks to strength out of Europe, but they remain down 9.2% for the year. Emerging Markets dropped 1.3% for the week largely due to market weakness out of China. For the year, Emerging Markets are now down 5.4%.
While not discussed often, Gold Prices have surged in 2020, up roughly 19%, and are now pushing their all-time highs hit back in 2011. Prices have been helped by investor concern over rising government debt levels globally and the economic uncertainty associated with COVID-19.
Of Interest to Us
A preliminary measure of US Consumer sentiment dropped notably in July, as unease among consumers increases from the increasing spread of COVID-19 and concerns grow about the pending expiration of some financial relief from the Cares Act at the end of July. The Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index dropped to 73.2 in July from 78.1 in June, which is not far from the lowest levels of 71.8 hit during the heart of the coronavirus in April. Declining consumer sentiment could impact consumption and the economic recovery efforts.
for the week ending 7/17/2020
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