By Vivien Lou Chen and Mark DeCambre
Major U.S. stock benchmarks all book record closes on Monday, as investors bought materials, energy, and technology shares on apparent optimism for the outlook for the economy.
How did major indexes perform?
Last week, the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite each ended at record highs. The S&P 500 has climbed for six of the last seven weeks and 16 of the last 18 trading sessions.
What drove the market?
Stock indexes built on gains scored Friday after the U.S. employment report showed job growth rebounded in October. Healthy quarterly results have also helped to support the market’s persistent advance, despite some lingering concerns about inflation and the Federal Reserve’s policy shifts. The New York Fed’s Survey of Consumer Expectations for October, released Monday, showed the median expectation for inflation in the next 12 months climbed to 5.7%, the highest level since the survey’s inception in June 2013.
“We expect equities to continue to climb the ‘wall of worry’, as risks look largely priced in and showing signs of improvement,” JPMorgan Chase & Co. strategists, led by Marko Kolanovic and Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, wrote in a note. “In our view, investors should buy the dip in cyclical assets, such as value, small caps, energy, financials and EM equities, commodities, and position for yields to resume moving higher.”
Pfizer Inc.’s (PFE)positive antiviral news on Friday gave a lift to global reopening trades, with many investors now counting on the prospect of an easy-to-administer coronavirus treatment to unleash pent-up consumer demand and boost business spending on capital expenditures. Market analysts also credited the market’s buoyancy to a seasonal trend of buying, with the November period starting a bullish stretch for equities and company stock repurchases.
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“Driving the momentum is aggressive retail investor activity, accelerating stock repurchases and strong seasonality,” wrote Mark Hackett, Nationwide’s chief of investment research.
“As earnings season winds down, investor attention will focus on a fresh set of catalysts, including the passage of fiscal spending deals, accelerating economic activity and improved investor sentiment,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, Federal Reserve officials indicated on Monday that the central bank could raise U.S. interest rates by the end of 2022 based on the rapid recovery of the economy and an extended bout of high inflation. Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida repeated his view that the criteria for a rate hike could be met before the end of 2022. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard told Fox Business that he foresees the central bank raising interest rates twice next year, and that a more rapid pace of interest-rate increases could be adopted if inflation runs hotter than expected.
The Fed officials’ comments come after Friday’s employment report showed the U.S. economy added 531,000 jobs in October, more than the 450,000 jobs that economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected to see.
The remarks also came after the Fed announced last Wednesday that it will begin to wind down its bond-buying program, as expected, which was designed to prop up the economy during the pandemic. Policy makers also indicated that the factors boosting inflation are expected to be transitory. Investors are closely watching for signs about the reappointment of Powell, whose term as Fed boss expires in 2022, following reports that President Joe Biden met with the chairman and Fed Gov. Lael Brainard at the White House on Thursday.
In Washington, the House of Representatives approved an infrastructure package late Friday, though a larger spending bill remains in doubt. Biden is expected to sign the bill, which includes $110 billion in funding for roads, bridges and major projects.
And in corporate news, Elon Musk’s Twitter poll came out in favor of him selling 10% of his stake in Tesla (TSLA), sending the electric vehicle auto maker’s stock down around 5% on Monday.
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Musk, in a tweet, said he was prepared to accept either outcome. Musk has repeatedly questioned the value of Tesla, and his brother Kimbal sold 88,500 shares on Friday, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
-Vivien Lou Chen
Which companies were in focus?
How were other assets faring?
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
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