U.S. equities overcame a rough start the week, due to Evergrande uncertainty, then finished higher. Stocks went on a roller coaster ride, with the VIX soaring then crashing post-Fed, whom provided expected monetary policy guidance. Questions remain how quickly tapering may be completed and how early rate hikes may appear. Last week all indexes finished up; Dow 0.62%, S&P 0.52%, and Nasdaq 0.03%.
Evergrande Impact Last Week
A volatile week for stocks turned positive mid-week. Initially major indexes dropped 2-3% on fears of systemic risk from Evergrande, the Chinese
real estate company. Indexes rallied later as the Fed downplayed rate hikes while furthering taper discussion. On Monday, investors were skittish by the debt crisis at property developer China Evergrande Group. China President Xi Jinping is trying to reduce property-sector leverage to make housing more affordable for the people of China.
Back in the US, Federal Chair Powell took note of the global supply chain disruptions. Powell said Friday, “I’ve never seen these kind of supply-chain issues, never seen an economy that combines drastic labor shortages with lots of unemployed people and a lot of slack in the labor market.” His comments come after Wednesday’s post meeting statement outlining the Fed’s reduction of monthly asset purchases as soon as its next meeting in November. The other notable projection was half of the 18 officials expect to raise interest rates by the end of 2022. This contrasts with the June meeting where most Fed officials expected rate increases in 2023.
In other news, U.S. housing data was mostly positive, with housing starts and new home sales rising in August, while existing home sales slipped 2% as surging prices hampered first-time buyers.
Durable Goods Orders released today and showed positive signs. Inventory data follows later in the week. Inflation may be on the backburner right now, but it is not forgotten. With prices potentially staying elevated and the labor market moving back towards full employment, questions remain on how quickly tapering may be completed and how early rate hikes may appear. Futures markets have priced in the first rate increase for December 2022. Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 13.69%, S&P up 18.62%, and Nasdaq up 16.75% through the close on Friday.
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