The week on Wall Street
Stock prices notched solid gains last week, looking past an increase in COVID-19 cases and any potential economic concerns raised by the trend.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased by 0.96%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 climbed 1.76%. The Nasdaq Composite Index bounded 4.01% higher for the week. The MSCI EAFE Index, which tracks developed stock markets overseas, gained just 0.07%.1,2,3
Stocks experienced a volatile week as investors negotiated the crosswinds of encouraging overseas economic data with an accelerating number of COVID-19 cases in several states. Ongoing support of the financial markets by the Federal Reserve appeared to offset any concerns about an economic rebound.
The big technology companies continued to shine, leading the Nasdaq Composite to multiple new record highs. News of positive trial results for a potential COVID-19 treatment boosted stocks on the final trading day, closing the week on an encouraging note.
On the Record
Regional Federal Reserve presidents had several speaking engagements last week, and the message was a consistent one: expect the economic recovery to remain bumpy.
Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester said that the economy in her region is slowing due to rising COVID-19 cases. She linked gains in combating the virus with further economic progress. She also echoed earlier comments by Fed Chairman Powell that more fiscal support is necessary.4
Meanwhile, San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly observed that it was unlikely many companies would be rehiring all their employees. Thomas Barkin, president of Richmond Federal Reserve, reiterated the challenges of a labor recovery, but also spoke of the strain on local and state governments.5,6
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