Equities finished on a softer note last week, pulling back on Friday after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite had set fresh all-time highs on Thursday and Monday, respectively. Sector performance was mixed, with energy, communications, and financials all rising 2% or more, while healthcare and tech were both down ~2% on the week. US small and midcap stocks also finished the week slightly lower, as did international equities.
Bucking the April trend, interest rates began to rise last week. Benchmark 10-year and 30-year Treasury yields both finished 7 basis points higher w/w, the largest weekly increase in rates since mid-March. Credit spreads compressed, cushioning the downward price movement in investment grade corporates, while riskier (and shorter duration) high yield bonds registered small gains.
Commodity prices finished April on a strong upward trajectory, with oil
(WTI) closing above $65/barrel on Thursday before pulling back a bit on
Friday. Many other commodities were up sharply during the second half of
April, including most grains, textiles, and building products.
Economic news was positive last week. Consumer confidence rose sharply in April, jobless claims remain near pandemic-era lows, durable goods orders rebounded, and home prices continued to rise. Meanwhile, the Fed reiterated its commitment to keep rates low and maintain its asset purchase programs, while welcoming signs that the economic recovery is strengthening.