The week on Wall St.
Stocks managed small gains as investors wrestled with concerns over economic growth prospects and a rise in COVID-19 infections.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average picked up 0.24%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 gained 0.40%. The Nasdaq Composite index added 0.43%. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, slipped 0.78%.1,2,3
A Choppy Week
In a truncated week of trading, stock market action was turbulent and indecisive. A mixed start saw cyclical stocks sell off amid concerns of slowing economic growth, while growth stocks advanced in response to falling yields.
After strengthening mid-week with the release of the FOMC meeting minutes, stocks skidded when reopening fears resurfaced Thursday on a new wave of global COVID-19 infections and Japan’s emergency declaration that reintroduced lockdown protocols. This led to a broad-based sell-off, with financials, home builders, and technology hit hard. A drop in bond yields added to the deteriorating sentiment.
Bond yields rebounded on Friday, setting the stage for a strong comeback for stocks, with the three major indices closing at new all-time highs.4
Attention Turns to Bonds
Since reaching a 2021 high of 1.74% in March, the 10-year Treasury yield has been in a slow, steady decline, closing at 1.37% on Friday.5
One explanation may be that reopening sentiment has turned more cautious as the Delta variant of COVID-19 spreads globally. Another view is that overseas investors are buying Treasuries, effectively lowering yields.
Perhaps it’s abating inflation concerns, or simply excess liquidity finding its way into bonds. Whatever the message, the yield narrative has changed from just a few months ago when it was believed that the 10-year treasury was heading to two percent.5
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