For the second consecutive week, the S&P 500 and the Dow retreated from the record highs achieved at the end of March. The NASDAQ experienced a fractional weekly decline, which was less pronounced compared to its counterparts, partly due to the relatively strong performance of select technology stocks.

The latest inflation report heightened uncertainty surrounding the potential timing of interest-rate cuts, as the Consumer Price Index surged to an annual rate of 3.5% in March, up from 3.2% in the prior month. Excluding volatile food and energy prices, core inflation rose to 3.8%. Subsequently, U.S. government bond yields witnessed a sharp increase following the release of Wednesday’s report.

Wednesday’s inflation data, which surpassed expectations, solidified recent market sentiments that initial interest-rate cuts were no longer imminent. This sentiment was reinforced later in the day with the publication of minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve’s March policy meeting, where officials indicated their readiness to maintain rates at the current high levels for a longer duration than previously anticipated.

First-quarter results from three major U.S. banks unveiled on Friday, were a mixed bag, with two institutions reporting year-over-year earnings declines. Analysts had predicted an overall 18% drop in earnings for banks in the S&P 500 compared to the same period in the previous year, according to FactSet.

Following the inflation report, the yield of the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond soared to its highest level in five months, reaching as high as 4.59% at one point. This marked a significant increase from its level of 3.86% as recently as February 1.

Gold prices continued their upward trajectory for the third consecutive week, building on the record highs achieved in previous weeks. On Friday, gold futures peaked at $2,448 per ounce in the morning before retracing to around $2,360 in the afternoon, marking a weekly increase of about 1% and a gain of more than 9% since March 22.

China reported larger-than-anticipated monthly declines in both exports and imports. The 7.5% drop in the value of exports from the world’s second-largest economy was the most significant decline since August 2023. However, this data was released after the closure of Chinese financial markets on Friday.

The upcoming release of U.S. retail sales data on Monday could provide insights into whether the recent positive momentum observed extended into March. In February, sales rebounded with a 0.6% gain after an unexpected 1.1% decline in January.

Major U.S. Economic Reports

NFIB optimism indexMarch88.589.4
Consumer price indexMarch0.4%0.4%
Core CPIMarch0.4%0.4%
CPI year over year3.5%3.2%
Core CPI year over year3.8%3.8%
Wholesale inventoriesMarch0.5%-0.2%
Monthly U.S. federal budgetMarch-$378B
Initial jobless claimsApril 6211,000222,000
Producer price indexMarch0.2%0.6%
Core PPIMarch0.3%
PPI year over year2.1%1.6%
Core PPI year over year2.8%2.7%
Import price indexMarch0.4%0.3%
Import price index minus fuelMarch0.1%0.2%
Consumer sentiment (prelim)April77.979.4

Closing Prices for the Week

Dow Jones Industrials Average37,983.24
Nasdaq Composite16,175.09
S&P 500 Index5,123.41
CBOE Volatility Index17.31
S&P GSCI598.31
U.S. Dollar Index106.038
10-Year T-Note (Jun ’24)108-220
Crude Oil WTI (May ’24)85.66
Natural Gas (May ’24)1.770
Gold (Jun ’24)2,374.1
Silver (May ’24)28.330
Corn (Jul ’24)447-2
Wheat (Jul ’24)570-6
Soybean (May ’24)1174-0
Coffee (Jul ’24)220.45
Sugar #11 (Jul ’24)20.13

Trading futures and forex involves significant risk of loss and is not suitable for everyone.

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