Stock Euphoria Abates at End of Big First Half: Markets Wrap
A sign for Wall Street and American flags in New York, U.S. A stock exchange, such as the NYSE, is an example of a secondary market. (Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

Stock Euphoria Abates at End of Big First Half: Markets Wrap

The end of one of the best first halves since 1998 for U.S. stocks was marked by small moves and slow trading.

Solid economic data tempered concern about elevated valuations and the spread of a more contagious coronavirus variant, with the S&P 500 closing slightly higher. The gauge notched its longest streak of quarterly gains since 2017 and has rallied 14% so far this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average outperformed major benchmarks Wednesday, while the Nasdaq 100 fell. The dollar had its best month since March 2020.

Investors are assessing hopes for an imminent return to normalcy amid worries that runaway inflation or further Covid-19 restrictions could derail the economic rebound. Interestingly enough, companies that stand to benefit the most from a recovery in activity -- like energy, industrial and financial shares -- rose on Wednesday, beating the tech giants that had fueled the stay-at-home trade.

Read: JPMorgan’s Kolanovic Defends Value After Worst Month in 20 Years

Stock Euphoria Abates at End of Big First Half: Markets Wrap

“While we expect stock markets will ultimately thrive in the reflationary environment of strong, above-trend growth and ample liquidity conditions, it won’t be a smooth ride,” said Candice Bangsund, vice president and portfolio manager at Montreal-based Fiera Capital Corp. “The next phase of the bull market may exhibit more frequent bouts of volatility.”

Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said the tapering of asset purchases, which he hopes will start “soon,” should run smoother this time around as investors already know that a move is being discussed. His Atlanta counterpart Raphael Bostic noted the U.S. has “actually fully recovered” from the pandemic on a gross domestic product basis, but “it is going to take some time to get back” on employment.

Elsewhere, oil advanced, with investors awaiting a key meeting between OPEC+ producers on output policy while a stalemate in Iranian nuclear talks drags on.

Read: OPEC+ Heads Into Talks That Could Prove Crucial for Oil Prices

Stock Euphoria Abates at End of Big First Half: Markets Wrap

Here are some events to watch in the markets this week:

  • China’s President Xi Jinping will deliver a speech as the nation marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party Thursday
  • OPEC+ ministerial meeting Thursday
  • ECB President Christine Lagarde speaks Friday
  • The U.S. jobs report is due Friday

These are some of the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 rose 0.1% as of 4 p.m. New York time
  • The Nasdaq 100 fell 0.1%
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.6%
  • The MSCI World index fell 0.2%

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.3%
  • The euro fell 0.3% to $1.1860
  • The British pound was little changed at $1.3837
  • The Japanese yen fell 0.5% to 111.07 per dollar

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined one basis point to 1.46%
  • Germany’s 10-year yield declined four basis points to -0.21%
  • Britain’s 10-year yield declined two basis points to 0.72%

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.7% to $73.52 a barrel
  • Gold futures rose 0.4% to $1,770.90 an ounce

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