The S&P 500 experienced a slight decline, ending a streak of five consecutive weeks of gains that had propelled the index to a record high. Despite this setback, the S&P 500 remained nearly 22% above a recent low reached in late October. Meanwhile, the Dow finished the week essentially unchanged, while the NASDAQ slipped by more than 1%.

On Tuesday, stocks dropped and bond yields surged following the release of a monthly inflation report indicating that U.S. consumer prices had increased more than anticipated in January, with the Consumer Price Index registering an annual rate of 3.1%. Another report released on Friday further underscored the persistence of inflationary pressures, as wholesale prices rose at the quickest pace seen in five months.

The latest inflation figures tempered investors’ expectations for near-term interest-rate cuts, leading to a second consecutive week of rising government bond yields. The yield of the 10-year U.S. Treasury bond closed at 4.30% on Friday, marking a significant increase from a recent intraday low of 3.82% recorded on February 1.

Consumer spending in the United States fell more than anticipated following the holiday shopping season, with retail sales declining by 0.8% on a seasonally adjusted basis in January compared to the previous month. Additionally, sales figures for December and November were revised downward from their initially reported numbers.

Initial estimates from Japan and the United Kingdom indicated that both economies slipped into recessions in late 2023, with negative growth recorded for the second consecutive quarter. Japan’s fourth-quarter GDP contracted at an annual rate of 0.4%, while the U.K. economy shrank by 0.3%.

As earnings season approached its conclusion, there was a slight improvement in expectations for overall performance. Net income was projected to increase by an average of 3.2% compared to the same quarter a year earlier, based on results reported by four-fifths of S&P 500 companies as of Friday, along with forecasts for those yet to release results. This growth rate was higher than the 2.8% projected at the end of the previous week.

A survey measuring U.S. consumers’ sentiment regarding the economy showed a third consecutive monthly increase, reaching its highest level since July 2021. The University of Michigan reported that its preliminary February sentiment reading climbed to 79.6, a sharp rise from a recent low of 61.3 recorded in November.

Following their underperformance relative to large caps in January, U.S. small-cap stocks outperformed their larger counterparts by a considerable margin for the second consecutive week. A small-cap benchmark rose by over 1% for the week, with gains totaling nearly 4% over the two-week period.

Major U.S. Economic Reports

Monthly U.S. federal budgetJan.-$39B
Consumer price indexJan.0.3%0.3%
Core CPIJan.0.4%0.3%
CPI year over year3.1%3.4%
Core CPI year over year3.9%3.9%
Initial jobless claimsFeb. 10212,000220,000
Empire State manufacturing surveyFeb.-2.4-43.7
Philadelphia Fed manufacturing surveyFeb.5.2-10.6
Import price indexJan.0.8%-0.7%
Import price index minus fuelJan.0.7%0.0%
U.S. retail salesJan.-0.8%0.4%
Retail sales minus autosJan.-0.6%0.4%
Industrial productionJan.-0.1%0.0%
Capacity utilizationJan.78.5%78.7%
Home builder confidence indexFeb.4844
Housing startsJan.1.33 million1.56 million
Building permitsJan.1.47 million1.49 million
Producer price indexJan.0.3%-0.1%
Core PPIJan.0.6%0.2%
PPI year over year0.9%1.0%
Core PPI year over year2.6%2.6%
Consumer sentiment (prelim)Feb.79.679.0

Closing Prices for the Week

Dow Jones Industrials Average38,627.99
Nasdaq Composite15,775.65
S&P 500 Index5,005.57
CBOE Volatility Index14.24
S&P GSCI558.95
U.S. Dollar Index104.275
10-Year T-Note (Mar ’24)109-240
Crude Oil WTI (Apr ’24)76.46
Natural Gas (Apr ’24)1.680
Gold (Apr ’24)2,024.1
Silver (Mar ’24)23.475
Corn (Mar ’24)416-4
Wheat (May ’24)559-0
Soybean (May ’24)1176-2
Coffee (May ’24)186.70
Sugar #11 (May ’24)22.59

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

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