The week on Wall St.
Undaunted by another Fed rate hike and news of a contracting economy, the stock market rallied last week on better-than-expected corporate earnings.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 2.97%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 picked up 4.26%. The Nasdaq Composite index gained 4.70% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, rose 0.95%.1,2,3
Stocks Rally on Earnings
It was an inauspicious start to the week after a big-box retailer missed earnings and reduced forward guidance on Tuesday, sparking a broad market retreat.
But sentiment improved following mega-cap technology company earnings that proved better than expected. Enthusiasm gathered steam in the wake of the Fed’s 0.75% rate hike, boosted by Fed Chair Powell’s comments following Wednesday’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Powell indicated that it might become appropriate to slow the pace of future hikes, and he didn’t believe the economy had entered into recession. Stocks on Thursday shrugged off news of a second-consecutive quarter of negative economic growth to build on Wednesday’s gains as fresh earnings continued to comfort, if not impress, investors.4
The U.S. economy shrank at an annualized rate of 0.9% in the second quarter as consumers pulled back on spending and businesses worked to reduce inventories. It was the second-consecutive quarter of negative economic growth, meeting the technical definition of a recession. Unlike past recessions, hiring has been strong all year, with the unemployment rate near historic lows.5
The economic slowdown was attributable primarily to decreases in inventories, a deceleration in the housing market, and lower government spending. Consumer spending increased a tepid one percent, well below the inflation rate during the same period.6
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