Investors Look to the Future with Optimism
But as shocking as the reported loss of 20.5 million jobs was, it came as no surprise. That was last month’s news, and stock investors are in the business of looking ahead. And in doing so, they liked what they saw down the road, or at least what they hope to see, and that is an economy re-opening, a subdued pandemic with no serious second wave of infections, and expected progress on the medicinal front. Friday’s rally brought the S&P 500 2930, within 10 points, or just 0.3 percent of its recovery closing high of 2940 on April 29, and 31 percent higher from the low on March 23.
Earnings Season Winds Down; Futures Price in the Possibility of Negative Rates
At the sector level, energy was the best performer, both on Friday and for the week. But that is where the similarity ended. Whereas for the week, the next best-performing sectors were technology and communication services, on Friday it was industrials and materials. The XLE energy ETF has now risen in each of the past seven weeks and rallied by 65 percent from its March 23 low.
First quarter earnings season is winding down, on track to deliver a year-over-year decline of 14 percent. Earnings are expected to decline by more than 40 percent in the second quarter, with full-year results now expected to decline by 20 percent.
The short end of the Treasury curve was behaving quite differently than stocks. The two-year note yield fell to an all-time intraday low of 0.10 percent on Friday, before rebounding to close at 0.16 percent. At the same time, Fed funds futures were pricing in the possibility of negative rates. Longer rates rose, however, with the ten-year yield rising seven basis points to 0.68 percent, and the thirty-year bond rising 10 to 1.38 percent. High yield credit spreads narrowed for the second straight week, falling 18 basis points to 752. That is well above its January low of 338 basis points, but well down from its selloff wide of 1,087 in late March.
Economies Re-open as the National Rate of Infections is Rising
More states are re-opening their economies to varying degrees, as are other countries. But according to the Associated Press, in the U.S., if the New York metropolitan area is excluded, the national rate of infections is rising. Local flare-ups are not the same as breakouts, but there remains the lingering worry of second wave infections of which the healthcare community continues to warn. But those concerns are increasingly taking a back seat to the desire to return life to normal and get economies moving again. Social distancing metrics show a steady erosion of compliance discipline, reflecting that desire.
This week’s economic calendar will offer a further look at April activity, but tell us little about what lies ahead. As with the jobs report, the numbers will be startling, but backward looking. Retail sales and industrial production are expected to show double-digit declines. Both headline and core CPI are expected to decline, as are consumer sentiment and small business optimism. New jobless claims are expected to continue their moderating trend but remain elevated at 2.5 million. Overseas, first quarter German and U.K. GDP will no doubt confirm the period’s economic decline, but only foreshadow the deterioration in the second quarter. And in China, April retail sales, industrial production and fixed investment are all expected to show modest improvement from March but remain weak overall.
Sources: Factset, Bloomberg, Economic News Release, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 8, 2020.
The views expressed are as of the date given, may change as market or other conditions change, and may differ from views expressed by other Ameriprise Financial associates or affiliates. Actual investments or investment decisions made by Ameriprise Financial and its affiliates, whether for its own account or on behalf of clients, will not necessarily reflect the views expressed. This information is not intended to provide investment advice and does not account for individual investor circumstances. Individual securities referenced are for illustrative purposes only, subject to change and should not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell.
Some of the opinions, conclusions and forward-looking statements are based on an analysis of information compiled from third-party sources. This information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed by Ameriprise Financial. It is given for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell the securities mentioned. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for investment decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the specific needs of an individual investor.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500® Index), an unmanaged index of common stocks, is frequently used as a general measure of market performance. The index reflects reinvestment of all distributions and changes in market prices but excludes brokerage commissions or other fees.
The S&P 500 Energy Select Sector Index measures the performance of energy stocks, as classified by the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS). Every Select Sector stock is also a constituent of the S&P 500 Index. It is float-adjusted market capitalization weighted.
The S&P 500 Telecommunication Services Index comprises those companies included in the S&P 500 that are classified as members of the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) telecommunication services sector.
The S&P 500 Information Technology Index comprises those companies included in the S&P 500 that are classified as members of the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) information technology sector.
The S&P 500 Materials Index comprises those companies included in the S&P 500 that are classified as members of the Global Industry Classification Standard (GICS) materials sector.
An index is a statistical composite that is not managed. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is an inflation indicator that measures the change in the total cost of a fixed basket of products and services, including housing, electricity, food, and transportation. The CPI is published monthly by the Commerce Department and is also commonly referred to as the cost-of-living index. Unless otherwise noted, CPI data in this report is one month trailing.
High-yield bonds are bonds that pay higher interest rates because they have lower credit ratings than investment-grade bonds.Non-investment-grade (high-yield or junk) securities present greater price volatility and more risk to principal and income than higher rated securities.
A 10-year Treasury note is a debt obligation issued by the United States government that matures in 10 years. The 10-year yield is typically used as a proxy for mortgage rates, and other measures.
A 2-year Treasury note is a debt obligation issued by the United States government that matures in 2 years.
Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.
Investment products are not federally or FDIC-insured, are not deposits or obligations of, or guaranteed by any financial institution, and involve investment risks including possible loss of principal and fluctuation in value.
Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. Member FINRA and SIPC.
- Chief Market Strategist, Ameriprise Financial
- More than 30 years of experience in the investment management industry
- Frequent guest on CNBC, Bloomberg TV and Fox Business Network.