The S&P 500 and NASDAQ pushed their record levels higher once again, posting fractional gains and marking their eighth positive week out of the past nine. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed over 1% but remained more than 2% below its record high set a month earlier.

As we approach the midpoint of 2024, the leading sectors in the U.S. stock market are the same as those that led in 2023. As of Friday, information technology topped the year-to-date performance with nearly a 29% average return, followed by communication services with 25%. In 2023, information technology posted an average return of about 58%, and communication services saw 56%.

U.S. crude oil prices rose for the second consecutive week, surpassing $80 per barrel for only the second time since late April. By Friday afternoon, oil was trading around $81, up from a recent low of less than $73 on June 5.

U.S. retail sales underperformed in May, barely increasing from the previous month. Sales rose 0.1% in May after a 0.2% decline in April, contrasting with rises of 0.6% in March and 0.9% in February.

High mortgage rates continue to impact the U.S. housing market, with sales of previously owned homes falling for the third consecutive month. The National Association of Realtors reported a 0.7% decline in existing home sales in May, bringing the seasonally adjusted annual rate to 4.11 million.

The United Kingdom’s central bank maintained its key lending rate at 5.25% for the seventh straight meeting, though policymakers indicated potential rate cuts in the coming months. Both the Bank of England and the U.S. Federal Reserve have recently hesitated to cut rates, in contrast to the European Central Bank, which lowered its key rate on June 6.

U.S. companies increased their share buybacks by over 8% in the first quarter of this year compared to the fourth quarter of last year. According to S&P Dow Jones Indices, S&P 500 companies’ share repurchases climbed to nearly $237 billion. Compared to the same quarter a year ago, buybacks were up nearly 10%.

A report set for release on Friday could shed light on the recent uncertainty over inflation’s trajectory. The Personal Consumption Expenditures Price Index, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge, showed annual rates of 2.5% in January and February, rising to 2.7% in March and April.

Major U.S. Economic Reports

Empire State manufacturing surveyJune-6.0-15.6
U.S. retail salesMay0.1%-0.2%
Retail sales minus autosMay-0.1%-0.1%
Industrial productionMay0.9%0.0%
Capacity utilizationMay78.7%78.4%
Business inventoriesMay0.3%-0.1%
Home builder confidence indexJune4345
Initial jobless claimsJune 15238,000243,000
U.S. current accountQ1$237.6B-$221.8B
Housing startsMay1.28 million1.35 million
Building permitsMay1.39 million1.44 million
Philadelphia Fed manufacturing surveyJune1.34.5
S&P flash U.S. services PMIJune55.154.8
S&P flash U.S. manufacturing PMIJune51.751.3
Existing home salesMay4.11 million4.14 million
U.S. leading economic indicatorsMay-0.5%-0.6%

Closing Prices for the Week

Dow Jones Industrials Average39,150.33
Nasdaq Composite17,689.36
S&P 500 Index5,464.62
CBOE Volatility Index13.20
S&P GSCI579.05
U.S. Dollar Index105.796
10-Year T-Note (Sep ’24)110-160
Crude Oil WTI (Aug ’24)80.73
Natural Gas (Aug ’24)2.836
Gold (Aug ’24)2,331.2
Silver (Jul ’24)29.614
Corn (Dec ’24)453-2
Wheat (Sep ’24)575-6
Soybean (Nov ’24)1120-0
Coffee (Sep ’24)225.00
Sugar #11 (Oct ’24)19.16
Cocoa (Sep ’24)8,905

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

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