Treasury yields rose significantly over the course of last week. The rising rates spooked equity investors, reaching the highest levels since February 2020. And the highest one month gain since November 2016. Yields ended the week down from the high on Covid-19 vaccine optimism, a recovering U.S. economy, and massive stimulus deal near completion. For the week, major indexes finished down; Dow down 1.9%, S&P down 2.41%, and Nasdaq down 4.9%.
The high yields lead to concern for inflation. With inflation, comes demand for higher yields. Higher yields are passed down to corporations by way of borrowing. If companies have debt or increase their debt, than in return, they will pay higher interest payments. Higher interest payments cut into their profits, therefore, companies report lower earnings and their overall valuation declines. Rising rates are not all doom and gloom. Fed Chairman Powell made this statement regarding higher yields last week, “statement of confidence on the part of the markets that we will have a robust and ultimate complete recovery.” Regardless, interest rates remain the focus of market stress going forward.
Last week, U.S. jobless claims of 730K were lower than expected, and lower than the previous week. The Johnson & Johnson vaccination news helped travel stocks jump. The J&J vaccine approval increases the push to vaccinate 100m people in the U.S. by the end of June. Further supporting the recovery and investor perception of a likely economic boom. Housing report data was strong. The House passed President Biden’s $1.9T relief package over the weekend. Despite the rising rates, this is all positive news to support the market. For the year, Dow is up 1.06%, S&P up 1.47%, and Nasdaq up 2.36%.
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