The S&P 500’s descent from its late-March record high gained momentum, with the index closing the week down by 3.0%, marking its third consecutive negative result. The NASDAQ experienced a steeper decline of about 5.5%, while the Dow managed to eke out a small gain.

Concerns surrounding technology firms and the future trajectory of interest rates put pressure on growth stocks, causing a significant lag in performance compared to their value counterparts. The growth stock index concluded the week with a nearly 5% decline, contrasting sharply with the less than 1% dip seen in the value index.

Yields on U.S. government bonds continued their upward trend for the third successive week as investors recalibrated their expectations regarding imminent interest rate adjustments. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond briefly surged to 4.69% on Tuesday, reaching its highest level since November, before moderating slightly to close at 4.61% by Friday.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged that gaining adequate confidence in a sustained decline in inflation might take longer than initially anticipated. In a speech on Tuesday, Powell reiterated recent indications of a delayed timeline for potential interest rate cuts, emphasizing the need to allow existing restrictive policies more time to have their intended impact.

An index monitoring investors’ expectations of short-term market volatility climbed for the third consecutive week, hitting its highest level in nearly six months by Friday afternoon, marking a 46% increase from its recent low on March 27.

Following heightened tensions between Israel and Iran, the price of U.S. crude oil briefly surged by around 4% to surpass $85 per barrel late Thursday. However, prices swiftly reversed course as tensions eased somewhat, resulting in a roughly 3% decline for the week, with Friday afternoon’s price hovering around $83.

China’s government reported that the nation’s GDP grew at an annual rate of 5.3% in the first quarter of the year, surpassing the expectations of most economists. This growth follows the implementation of stimulus measures aimed at restoring the world’s second-largest economy to pre-pandemic growth levels.

The U.S. government’s initial estimate of first-quarter GDP, scheduled for release on Thursday, is anticipated to indicate continued solid growth, but at a slower pace than the fourth quarter of last year, which saw GDP increase at a 3.4% annual rate. An estimate released earlier in the week by U.S. Federal Reserve economists projected a first-quarter growth rate of 2.9%.

Major U.S. Economic Reports

Empire State manufacturing surveyApril-14.3-20.9
U.S. retail salesMarch0.7%0.9%
Retail sales minus autosMarch1.1%0.6%
Business inventoriesFeb.0.4%0.0%
Home builder confidence indexApril51
Housing startsMarch1.32 million1.55 million
Building permitsMarch1.46 million1.52 million
Industrial productionMarch0.4%0.4%
Capacity utilizationMarch78.4%78.2%
Initial jobless claimsApril 13212,000212,000
Philadelphia Fed manufacturing surveyApril15.53.2
Existing home salesMarch4.19 million4.38 million
U.S. leading economic indicatorsMarch-0.3%0.2%

Closing Prices for the Week

Dow Jones Industrials Average37,986.40
Nasdaq Composite15,282.01
S&P 500 Index4,967.23
CBOE Volatility Index18.71
S&P GSCI590.26
U.S. Dollar Index106.154
10-Year T-Note (Jun ’24)107-290
Crude Oil WTI (Jun ’24)82.22
Natural Gas (Jun ’24)1.988
Gold (Jun ’24)2,413.8
Silver (May ’24)28.844
Corn (Jul ’24)443-0
Wheat (Jul ’24)566-6
Soybean (Jul ’24)1165-6
Coffee (Jul ’24)231.85
Sugar #11 (Jul ’24)19.50

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