- Stocks Weaken as Yields Jump
U.S. stocks drifted lower last week amid heightened stock and bond market volatility surrounding several policy decisions from the Federal Reserve. The Fed vowed to keep interest rates near zero through 2023 to allow the economy to more solidly recover even if that means inflation may exceed their 2% annualized target. Markets were taken aback Friday when the central bank announced it will end its supplementary leverage ratio (SLR) bank benefit program at the end of March. The Fed’s SLR benefit relaxed its normal capital requirements for banks by exempting Treasury securities and cash reserves from the calculation.
- Narrow Losses
For the week, the S&P 500 declined 0.74%, the Dow Industrials slipped 0.46% and the tech-concentrated Nasdaq Composite fell 0.77%. The small cap-focused Russell 2000 retreated 2.76%, while Small Cap Value lagged the most, down 2.93% after gaining 8% the prior week.
- Housing Starts Stall
U.S. housing starts retreated 10.3% last month to a 1.42 million annualized pace, the fewest since last August (1.56 million expected). Construction was hampered by the severe cold that gripped much of the nation. Building permits also fell 10.8% but at 1.68 million and still near a 15-year high. Permits exceeded housing starts for a seventh straight month.
- Communication Services Performs Best
Eight of the 11 major sector groups ended negative last week, with Energy (-7.65%), Financials (-1.65%) and Technology (-1.33%) falling the most. Communication Services (+0.55%) rose the most, followed by Healthcare (+0.38%) and Consumer Staples (+0.36%).
- Treasury Yields Reached 14-Month High
Treasury prices slumped again last week, sending the yield on 10-year benchmark Treasury notes up nearly ten basis points to as high as 1.74% last week before closing at 1.725%. The U.S. Dollar Index strengthened 0.26% last week, while U.S. WTI crude oil futures declined 6.3% to end at $61.44/barrel.
- The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) edged higher in February. Although it was the tenth straight month of improvement, the LEI increased by a modest 0.2% last month. This indicator bottomed last April, 13.6% below the pre-pandemic peak. As of February, it is less than 1.3% below that level. A rising LEI signals a positive outlook for the economy.
This report is created by Cetera Investment Management LLC. For more insights and information from the team, follow @CeteraIM on Twitter.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ.
The S&P 500 is an index of 500 stocks chosen for market size, liquidity and industry grouping (among other factors) designed to be a leading indicator of U.S. equities and is meant to reflect the risk/return characteristics of the large cap universe.
The S&P MidCap 400 provides investors with a benchmark for mid-sized companies. The index, which is distinct from the large-cap S&P 500, is designed to measure the performance of 400 mid-sized companies, reflecting the distinctive risk and return characteristics of this market segment.
The S&P SmallCap 600 seeks to measure the small-cap segment of the U.S. equity market. The index is designed to track companies that meet specific inclusion criteria to ensure that they are liquid and financially viable.
The NASDAQ Composite Index includes all domestic and international based common type stocks listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a broad based index.
The Russell 2000 Index measures the performance of the small-cap segment of the U.S. equity universe and is a subset of the Russell 3000 Index representing approximately 10% of the total market capitalization of that index. It includes approximately 2000 of the smallest securities based on a combination of their market cap and current index membership.
The Russell 3000 Index measures the performance of the largest 3,000 U.S. companies representing approximately 98% of the investable U.S. equity market.
The Russell Midcap Index measures the performance of the mid-cap segment of the U.S. equity universe and is a subset of the Russell 1000 Index. It includes approximately 800 of the smallest securities based on a combination of their market cap and current index membership. The Russell Midcap represents approximately 31% of the total market capitalization of the Russell 1000 companies.
The Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index, which was originally called the Lehman Aggregate Bond Index, is a broad based flagship benchmark that measures the investment grade, US dollar-denominated, fixed-rate taxable bond market. The index includes Treasuries, government–related and corporate debt securities, MBS (agency fixed-rate and hybrid ARM pass-throughs), ABS and CMBS (agency and non-agency) debt securities that are rated at least Baa3 by Moody’s and BBB- by S&P. Taxable municipals, including Build America bonds and a small amount of foreign bonds traded in U.S. markets are also included. Eligible bonds must have at least one year until final maturity, but in practice the index holdings has a fluctuating average life of around 8.25 years. This total return index, created in 1986 with history backfilled to January 1, 1976, is unhedged and rebalances monthly.
The Bloomberg Barclays US Corporate High Yield Index measures the USD-denominated, non-investment grade, fixed-rate, taxable corporate bond market. Securities are classified as high yield if the middle rating of Moody's, Fitch, and S&P is Ba1/BB+/BB+ or below, excluding emerging market debt. Payment-in-kind and bonds with predetermined step-up coupon provisions are also included. Eligible securities must have at least one year until final maturity, but in practice the index holdings has a fluctuating average life of around 6.3 years. This total return unhedged index was created in 1986, with history backfilled to July 1, 1983 and rebalances monthly.
The Bloomberg Barclays US Municipal Bond Index covers the USD-denominated long-term tax exempt bond market. The index has four main sectors: state and local general obligation bonds, revenue bonds, insured bonds, and prerefunded bonds. Many of the subindicies of the Municipal Index have historical data to January 1980. In addition, several subindicies based on maturity and revenue source have been created, some with inception dates after January 1980, but no later than July 1, 1993. Eligible securities must be rated investment grade (Baa3/BBB- or higher) by Moody’s and S&P and have at least one year until final maturity, but in practice the index holdings has a fluctuating average life of around 12.8 years. This total return index is unhedged and rebalances monthly.
The MSCI All-Country World Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization weighted index that is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed and emerging markets. The SMCI ACWI consists of 46 country indexes comprising 23 developed and 23 emerging market country indexes. The developed country indexes include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The emerging market country indexes included are: Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Russia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and United Arab Emirates.
The MSCI EAFE Index is designed to measure the equity market performance of developed markets (Europe, Australasia, Far East) excluding the U.S. and Canada. The Index is market-capitalization weighted.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is designed to measure equity market performance in global emerging markets. It is a float-adjusted market capitalization index.
The MSCI Europe Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure developed market equity performance in Europe.
The MSCI Pacific Index captures large and mid-cap representation across five Developed Markets (DM) countries in the Pacific region. With 470 constituents, the index covers approximately 85% of the free float-adjusted market capitalization in each country.
The Bloomberg Commodity Index is a broadly diversified index that measures 22 exchange-traded futures on physical commodities in five groups (energy, agriculture, industrial metals, precious metals, and livestock), which are weighted to account for economic significance and market liquidity. No single commodity can comprise less than 2% or more than 15% of the index; and no group can represent more than 33% of the index. However, between rebalancings, group weightings may fluctuate to levels outside the limits. The index rebalances annually, weighted 2/3 by trading volume and 1/3 by world production.
The S&P GSCI Crude Oil Index is a sub-index of the S&P GSCI, provides investors with a reliable and publicly available benchmark for investment performance in the crude oil market.
The S&P GSCI Gold Index, a sub-index of the S&P GSCI, provides investors with a reliable and publicly available benchmark tracking the COMEX gold futures market.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is a crude oil stream produced in Texas and southern Oklahoma which serves as a reference or "marker" for pricing a number of other crude streams. WTI is the underlying commodity of the New York Mercantile Exchange's oil futures contracts.
The Cboe Volatility Index® (VIX®) is a key measure of market expectations of near-term volatility conveyed by S&P 500 stock index option prices.
The U.S. Dollar Index is a weighted geometric mean that provides a value measure of the United States dollar relative to a basket of major foreign currencies. The index, often carrying a USDX or DXY moniker, started in March 1973, beginning with a value of the U.S. Dollar Index at 100.000. It has since reached a February 1985 high of 164.720 and has been as low as 70.698 in March 2008.