Equities moved modestly higher around the world last week, with gains in the 1% range across market caps and geographies. A steeper yield curve benefitted financials, which delivered the best return amongst S&P 500 sectors at +3.6% on the week. All other sectors finished in positive territory with the exception of consumer staples, which was used as a source of funds by investors adding risk.
Bond markets were weaker, particularly after Friday’s stronger-than-expected monthly payrolls report. Yields moved higher across the curve, with the 10-year rising 8 bp on the week. Investment grade credit spreads were stable, while high yield spreads compressed, muting the price decline in riskier corporate bonds.
Oil prices moved lower last week on concerns regarding slowing demand from China. Precious metals were also lower. Meanwhile, natural gas prices rose on elevated demand for cooling products, and US gasoline pump prices rose to a fresh 6-year high thanks to a busy summer driving season.
Economic news was dominated by the monthly nonfarm payrolls report for July, which was strong across the board:
* Nonfarm payrolls = +943k (est. +870k)
* U-3 Unemployment Rate = 5.4% (est. 5.7%)
* U-6 Underemployment Rate = 9.2% (est. 9.8%)
* Avg hourly earnings y/y = +4.0% (est. +3.9%)
* Labor force participation = 61.7% (prev. 61.6%)