Equities rallied around the world last week as Q3 earnings season got underway, with several of the large US banks reporting strong trading results and record M&A deal flow. Gains in large cap stocks pushed the S&P and Dow back to within 1.5% of their all-time highs from early September, while the Nasdaq remains roughly 3% off of its highs. International markets also finished higher, but remain well behind the US on a YTD basis.
Bond prices rose last week thanks to a flattening of the US Treasury yield curve. 2y yields rose to 39 basis points as investors priced in a higher probability of multiple rate hikes occurring at some point in 2022/23, while 10y and 30y yields fell as longer-term inflation fears eased slightly. Investment grade credit spreads were stable.
Oil prices rose again last week, with US crude benchmark West Texas Intermediate closing at a fresh 7-year high of $82.28/barrel. Natural gas prices eased back slightly but remain very high relative to recent years.
Inflation data was mixed last week, with CPI slightly exceeding consensus expectations while PPI was lower than feared. Meanwhile, jobless claims fell for the second straight week after rising throughout September. Finally, the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index softened slightly in the preliminary October reading, with weakness in both current conditions and future expectations. On the positive side, however, 5-10 year inflation expectations eased lower and appear to be well anchored around price stability.