Earnings Impact and All-Time Highs

New highs for the S&P 500, oil, and midcap stocks. U.S. equities posted moderate gains despite disappointing earnings from some technology companies. The S&P500 Index reached a new all-time high, advancing 1.5%+ for the week, while the Nasdaq Composite’s returns were similar. The final week of October kicks off with earnings from Facebook today. Reports from Boeing, General Motors, Caterpillar, Mastercard, and Exxon Mobil are also on the calendar. Indexes all finished higher last week; the Dow up 1.12%, S&P 1.66%, and Nasdaq 1.30%.

Last Week – Earnings Impact and All-Time Highs

U.S. equities posted moderate gains despite disappointing earnings from some technology companies. The S&P 500 Index reached a new all-time high. Stocks ended last week higher after rising four out of five days. The index has returned over 20% this year despite multiple economic and geopolitical headwinds. Inflation from global supply-chain constraints continues to spook investors. As evidenced by the market movement proceeding comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Friday. Fed Chairman Powell spoke at a conference and reaffirmed the plan to begin asset purchase tapering this year. He also signaled that supply chain issues and high inflation will likely persist into 2022. Investors are concerned that higher costs from supply-chain disruptions will lead the Fed to raise interest rates faster than expected. This view has been dampened by strong earnings reports from many companies leading major market indexes to near record highs.

U.S. economic data was mixed. The Fed revealed economic activity continued to grow at a modest to moderate rate, with the pace of growth slowing. The Philly Fed Index fell to 23.8 in October, reflecting an expected pullback from the prior month’s spike. October PMIs were driven by services, which rebounded to 58.2 from 54.9. Manufacturing fell to a 7-month low of 59.2 on raw material shortages. Homebuilder confidence rose on high buyer demand, as existing home sales surged 7% in September to an 8-month high. Housing starts fell on input and labor scarcities. Weekly jobless claims hit another pandemic-era low of 290K with continuing claims dropping to 2.48 million. This signals a reluctance to lay off employees while hiring remains challenged.

In corporate news, Intel plunged 11%+ Friday after its PC chip sales fell due to component shortages. Social media stocks fell based on Snap’s report of ad revenue disruptions due to privacy changes on Apple devices. On Friday, Pool Inc, Etsy, and Tesla rallied last week as a sign the resilient consumer is powering a strong economy. The S&P 500 is up over 4% since JPMorgan kicked off earnings season about two weeks ago.

Week Ahead

The week kicks off with earnings from Facebook, whose stock has been reeling from regulatory pressures, and Snap’s advertising results. Reports from Boeing, General Motors, Caterpillar, Mastercard, and Exxon Mobil are also on the calendar. Three central bank meetings highlight the economic agenda. The expectation from the Bank of Canada is to further reduce asset purchases on Wednesday. Markets are pricing in 3 rate hikes for next year. In Europe, the ECB has stagflation concerns. This results from slowing growth accompanied by escalating energy prices. The ECB may take a more cautious tone towards rate increases on Thursday. Not much is expected when the Bank of Japan meets, as the economy is still showing little inflationary pressures.

In the U.S. investors get the first look at Q3 GDP on Thursday. Estimates have steadily decreased the past several months, and Fed models sit much lower than the current 2.6% forecasts. This week also offers the durable goods report on Wednesday. New home sales and inventory data will shape investors views along with 165 companies in the S&P 500 set to report quarterly earnings this week. With the earnings impact and all-time highs, they year-to-date index performance; Dow up 16.6%, S&P up 21.0%, and Nasdaq up 17.1% through the close on Friday.

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