The stock market secured its third consecutive weekly advance with the S&P 500 rising 0.8%. The benchmark index posted gains in four of the first six weeks of 2016 while the two down weeks in the middle of January shaved 0.25% off the index.
The first half of the week featured sideways action just below record highs from late January, but the market snapped out of that range on Thursday after comments from President Donald Trump reminded investors that tax reform remains a priority. Mr. Trump announced that something “phenomenal” on the tax front would be announced in the next two or three weeks. The comments, which did not include specific details, were enough to encourage investors, who were starting to worry that a major campaign promise may go unaddressed.
Market participants received another heavy dose of quarterly reports, but the earnings had more influence on individual stocks than the broader market. At the end of the week, more than 71.0% of S&P 500 components had reported their results, generating blended earnings growth of 4.9%, according to FactSet. This represented a modest shortfall relative to the estimate from the end of September, which called for growth of 5.2%.
Rate hike expectations barely budged on a week-over-week basis. The fed funds futures market ended the week showing a 67.3% implied probability of a rate hike in June, up from last week’s 63.5%, but down slightly from 69.2% two weeks ago.