A surge in stock prices on Thursday helped U.S. stock indexes bounce back from the predominantly negative results of the previous week. The NASDAQ’s rise of over 1% left it just four-tenths of a percentage point below its record closing high achieved on November 19, 2021. Both the S&P 500 and the Dow extended their record highs set 11 days earlier.

The market received a significant boost from a better-than-expected earnings report released by a major semiconductor company on Thursday, resulting in the largest daily gains for U.S. indexes in a year. The NASDAQ saw its biggest surge in 12 months, climbing nearly 3.0%, while the S&P 500 recorded its largest increase in 13 months, rising by 2.1%.

After more than three decades, a Japanese stock market index finally reached a record high on Thursday, surpassing its previous peak established on December 31, 1989. Following a prolonged slump in the early 1990s, Japan’s equity market began a gradual rebound after hitting a low point in early 2009.

The inversion of the yield curve deepened on Friday to its most extreme level so far this year, as evidenced by the gap between the yields of 2-year and 10-year U.S. Treasury bonds. The closing yield for the 2-year bond was 4.68% on Friday, while the 10-year bond yielded 4.26%, maintaining the inversion where short-term debt offers higher yields than long-term debt.

U.S. Federal Reserve officials expressed concerns during the late January meeting that recent progress in curbing inflation could be undone by significant growth in consumer spending and business hiring. Minutes from the meeting released on Wednesday highlighted that some officials were wary of the risk of stalling progress towards achieving price stability.

Despite an overall positive week for stocks, an index of U.S. small-cap stocks experienced a slight decline, further extending its underperformance compared to its large-cap peers year-to-date. The Russell 2000 Index fell approximately 0.8% for the week.

Oil prices witnessed a 2% decline, reversing the gains from the previous week, with prices fluctuating within a wide range. U.S. crude oil prices surged to nearly $80 per barrel on Tuesday before dropping to as low as $76 the following day. By Friday, oil was trading slightly below $77.

The release of an updated U.S. GDP estimate scheduled for Wednesday will be closely monitored during the upcoming week. An initial estimate released in late January indicated that GDP expanded at an annual rate of 3.3% in the fourth quarter of last year, surpassing the expectations of most economists.

Major U.S. Economic Reports

U.S. leading economic indicatorsJan.0.4%-0.2%
Initial jobless claimsFeb. 17201,000213,000
S&P flash U.S. services PMIFeb.51.352.5
S&P flash U.S. manufacturing PMIFeb.51.550.7
Existing home salesJan.4.0 million3.9 million

Closing Prices for the Week

Dow Jones Industrials Average39,131.53
Nasdaq Composite15,996.82
S&P 500 Index5,088.80
CBOE Volatility Index13.75
S&P GSCI550.93
U.S. Dollar Index103.936
10-Year T-Note (Mar ’24)109-280
Crude Oil WTI (Apr ’24)76.49
Natural Gas (Apr ’24)1.699
Gold (Apr ’24)2,049.4
Silver (Mar ’24)22.982
Corn (May ’24)413-4
Wheat (May ’24)569-0
Soybean (May ’24)1141-6
Coffee (May ’24)180.30
Sugar #11 (May ’24)21.82

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

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