It was another tough week for stocks as bond yields continued to rise. Growth stocks bore the brunt of the selling pressure, sending the Nasdaq down 2.6% in a holiday-shortened week. Cyclical sectors fared better thanks to solid economic data, with materials (+0.7%), industrials (+0.4%), and energy (+0.3%) all finishing in positive territory. Small caps also finished slightly higher.
Meanwhile, the Treasury yield curve steepened considerably, with 2s10s gaining 19bp to finish at +38bp after having been inverted just two weeks prior. Credit spreads widened slightly, magnifying the price declines in high quality corporates and sending the Bloomberg US Corporate Index to its lowest level of the year.
The short week also saw a surge in energy prices. Oil gained more than $8/barrel, while natural gas rocketed higher to finish at $7.30/MMBtu, an all-time record high.
There were several positive data points regarding the economy last week. March retail sales were solid despite very high gasoline prices, industrial production rose more than expected, the Empire Manufacturing Survey came in well ahead of expectations, jobless claims remained low, and the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment index experienced a strong rebound.
Finally, core CPI cooled slightly in March data, but other inflation metrics remain hot:
- Headline CPI was +1.2% m/m and reached +8.5% y/y
- Core CPI (ex food & energy) was +0.3% m/m and reached +6.5% y/y
- Headline PPI was +1.4% m/m and reached +11.2% y/y
- Core PPI (ex food & energy) was +1.0% m/m and reached +9.2% y/y