The Week on Wall Street
Strong economic data and a resurgent technology sector propelled stocks to solid gains last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average advanced 1.95%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 picked up 2.71%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index gained 3.12%. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, gained 1.96%.1,2,3
A blow-out jobs report and an all-time high in the ISM-Services Index, coupled with the continued rebound in technology stocks, powered the Dow Industrials and S&P 500 to record highs to open a new week of trading.4 After taking a breather mid-week, stocks resumed their climb amid lower bond yields, widening momentum in vaccination efforts, and falling concerns over corporate tax rate hikes. As bond yields settled lower, technology shares rallied, lifting the S&P 500 to another record high on Thursday, its 19th closing record high this year.5 Despite a surge in March producer prices, stocks added to their gains to close out a strong week of performance.6
Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
The labor market has been perhaps one of the more tenuous ingredients in the budding economic recovery, though recent employment data may suggest the labor market recovery is gathering steam. March’s employment report exceeded all expectations, posting an increase of 916,000 in nonfarm payrolls, with upward revisions of 156,000 jobs to the January and February increases. Later, the JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) report saw a jump in job openings at a level not seen in two years. The weekly new jobless claims report, however, was mixed, as jobless claims came in higher than estimated, while continuing claims fell below the level seen just prior to the wave of pandemic-induced layoffs in late March 2020.7,8,9
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