The stock market muscled out another trio of record closing highs for the S&P 500 (+0.9%), Nasdaq Composite (+1.1%), and Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.8%) this week, as risk sentiment was supported by an encouraging round of economic data. The Russell 2000 rose 1.0%, keeping pace with its large-cap peers.
Recapping the key economic data:
- The Employment Situation report for July was better than expected, featuring 943,000 additions to nonfarm payrolls
- July manufacturing activity in the U.S., Europe, and Asia remained in expansionary territory
- The July ISM Non-Manufacturing Index increased to a record high of 64.1%
- The June trade balance report saw imports outstrip exports as the U.S. tried to meet the pent-up demand in the economy
- Weekly continuing claims dipped below 3 million for the first time since the pandemic began
The takeaway was that the labor market, the manufacturing sector, the services sector, and trade activity continued to paint a good recovery in the economy. In addition, the employment supported the case for the Fed to consider tapering asset purchases sooner rather than later. The market took the latter point well since the Fed would like to see more than one month of good data.
Growth stocks and value stocks rose together, evident by the 1.0% gain in the Russell 1000 Value Index and the 0.9% gain the Russell 1000 Growth Index. Nine of the 11 S&P 500 sectors contributed to the advance, paced by the financials (+3.6%) and utilities (+2.3%) sectors with strong gains. No other sector gained more than 1.0%.
The consumer staples sector (-0.6%) was the only sector that closed lower.
Other supportive factors included good earnings news from a plethora of companies, M&A activity, and a finalized text of the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that the Senate plans to vote on this weekend.
The 10-yr yield traded as low as 1.13% this week amid peak growth/inflation expectations, and concerns about the Delta variant, but ended the week at 1.29% or five basis points above last Friday’s settlement. This rebound aligned with a pro-growth mindset.
Week in perspective provided by Briefing.com