U.S. stock indexes continued their upward trajectory for the third consecutive week as earnings season drew to a close. The S&P 500 saw an increase of approximately 2%, while the NASDAQ experienced a rise of about 1%. Despite these recent gains, the indexes remain slightly below the record levels reached before the market downturn in the first half of April.

The persistent trend of higher-than-expected inflation figures appears to be impacting U.S. consumer sentiment negatively. The preliminary reading of the University of Michigan’s sentiment survey for May dropped to 67.4 from April’s 77.2. Additionally, Friday’s survey results indicated that consumers anticipate a rise in the inflation rate rather than a decline.

With the first-quarter earnings season drawing to a close, there has been a recent uptick in expectations for second-quarter results. Analysts raised their earnings-per-share estimates for second-quarter earnings by 0.7% throughout April, marking the first increase in estimates during the first month of a quarter in over two years, according to FactSet.

Mainland Chinese stocks have seen a significant rally over the past three weeks, outperforming the S&P 500 with a gain of more than 14%. This surge follows a challenging year in 2023 when Chinese stocks significantly trailed indexes in the United States and other major global markets.

The Cboe Volatility Index, which measures investors’ expectations of short-term U.S. stock market volatility, experienced a third consecutive week of decline, dropping nearly 7%. Compared to its recent peak on April 15, the index has fallen by more than 34%.

New filings for unemployment benefits reached their highest level in over eight months, with approximately 231,000 claims recorded in the latest weekly update from the U.S. government, up from 209,000 the previous week. This increase follows a recent slowdown in U.S. job growth.

The United Kingdom’s economy has bounced back into growth after experiencing a slight recession in the second half of 2023. The government reported that GDP expanded at a 0.6% annual rate in the first quarter of this year, surpassing economists’ expectations and marking the nation’s fastest growth rate in nearly three years.

A Consumer Price Index report scheduled for release on Wednesday will provide insight into whether the trend of slightly higher-than-expected inflation continued into April. March’s CPI report showed an annual rate of 3.5%, up from 3.2% the previous month, while core inflation, excluding volatile food and energy prices, rose by 3.8% in March.

Major U.S. Economic Reports

Consumer creditMarch$6.3B$15.0B
Wholesale inventoriesMarch-0.4%0.2%
Initial jobless claimsMay 4231,000209,000
Consumer sentiment (prelim)May67.477.2
Monthly U.S. federal budgetApril-$236B

Closing Prices for the Week

Dow Jones Industrials Average39,512.84
Nasdaq Composite16,340.87
S&P 500 Index5,222.68
CBOE Volatility Index12.55
S&P GSCI577.15
U.S. Dollar Index105.301
10-Year T-Note (Jun ’24)108-225
Crude Oil WTI (Jun ’24)78.26
Natural Gas (Jun ’24)2.252
Gold (Jun ’24)2,375.0
Silver (Jul ’24)28.506
Corn (Jul ’24)469-6
Wheat (Jul ’24)663-4
Soybean (Jul ’24)1219-0
Coffee (Jul ’24)201.15
Sugar #11 (Jul ’24)19.30

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

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