Equity markets rallied last week, particularly after Wednesday’s release of consumer price inflation (CPI) data that was slightly below consensus estimates. The S&P 500 and the Dow both finished the week at fresh all-time highs, while the Nasdaq remains ~5% below its mid-February record. Small and midcap stocks continued their run of dominant performance, extending their YTD lead over large caps. International indices also finished higher.
Rates drifted lower for much of the week before abruptly moving higher on Friday. In the end, 10-year yields rose 5bp on the week to 1.62%, the highest close since February 12, 2020. 30-year yields rose 8bp to 2.38%, the highest level since late 2019. Investment grade credits spreads where largely unchanged while high yield spreads tightened, resulting in moderate price declines for high quality corporates while riskier bonds were close to flat.
Oil prices fell early in the week and then rallied; the US dollar did the reverse.
In an encouraging sign for the labor market, weekly jobless claims (new and continuing) reached their lowest levels of the pandemic in data released on Thursday. See the Chart of the Week for a time series.
Finally, in a Thursday night address to the nation, President Joe Biden announced that he would direct all US states to make vaccines available to any adult that wants one by no later than May 1st.