How High Did Earnings Lift Indexes

The S&P 500 eclipsed 4600 for the first time thanks to the earnings lift. The S&P 500, Nasdaq Composite, and Dow Industrials indexes all reached record highs during the week. November kicks off with a busy and important week of data. Last week all indexes finished up. The Dow up 0.4%, S&P 1.35%, and Nasdaq 2.72%.

Last Week

U.S. equities drifted higher in the face of interest rate volatility and economic growth concerns. The S&P 500, Nasdaq Composite, and Dow Industrials indexes all reached record highs during the week. The Nasdaq managed to outperform despite disappointing earnings from Apple and Amazon. The U.S. yield curve experienced major flattening, as rate hike expectations are getting pulled forward due to high inflation. U.S. GDP grew at a 2% rate in Q3, below expectations of 2.8%. This puts additional pressure on longer-term rates as growth expectations revise lower. Consumer spending increased by only 1.6% after a 12% rise in Q2. Consumer confidence rebounded to 113.9 in October following three straight declines. The improvement was boosted by rising wages and a strong labor market. Jobless claims fell to another pandemic-era low of 281K.

The economy’s sore spot continues to be supply chain shortages, with durable goods orders dropping 0.4% in September after four straight monthly gains. New home sales surged to a 6-month high in September, but higher house prices and mortgage rates may dampen future demand. Pending home sales dropped unexpectedly. Interest rate movements were largely influenced by international developments, as the Bank of Canada struck a hawkish tone mid-week before GDP data showed likely Q3 underperformance. In Europe, ECB watchers expect a formal tapering announcement in December, as Eurozone inflation hit 4.1% in October on surging energy costs. Finally, German GDP rose 1.8% in Q3, missing expectations of 2.1% growth, and business sentiment worsened again in October on supply bottlenecks.

Earnings Review – Earnings Lift

Earnings season is in full swing with 279 of the companies in the S&P 500 having reported. 82% have beaten earnings expectations and 67% have beaten revenue expectations. The strongest results have come from Financials and Energy while Industrials have lagged. Supply chain issues have been a common
theme among companies reporting in several sectors. Mentions of “supply chain” in quarterly earnings calls were up 58% during the 2Q 2021 earnings season versus 4Q 2020. The current season is on track to be the highest in the 21st century. The largest companies in the S&P 500 reported last week. Tesla, Microsoft, and Alphabet all had stellar results providing an earnings lift. Amazon, Apple, and Facebook struggled in the prior quarter. Mark Zuckerberg doubled down on efforts to promote the metaverse. He also announced that Facebook, Inc. is changing its name to Meta Platforms, Inc., in December.

Week Ahead

November kicks off with a busy and important week of data. The FOMC meets mid-week, where the stage appears to be set for a long-anticipated tapering announcement. There is much to weigh, with a robust economy being checked by supply constraints. Inflation is exceeding its target by a wide margin. The improving but tight labor market that has yet to reach full employment. There are additional central bank policy updates from Australia and the UK on the calendar. Speaking of jobs, NFP lands Friday, preceded by the ADP report two days prior. Crude oil prices have stabilized the past few weeks, but remain near 7-year highs. Other events of note include employment numbers and PMI from Canada, and Eurozone retail sales and PMIs.

This week will include earnings results from oil stocks BP and Marathon Petroleum. Also reporting are video game makers Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, and Take-Two Interactive. News from the November Fed meeting is out on Wednesday. Year-to-date index performance; Dow up 17.03%, S&P up 22.61%, and Nasdaq up 20.25% through the close on Friday.

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