Equities advanced on the week as small caps and financials lead the way. The rotation out of high-growth stocks again caused a notable performance divergence across the equity landscape. Some of the well-known momentum stocks have suffered sizeable drawdowns over the past couple of weeks.
There’s something I’ve been wondering lately. Why haven’t hedge funds performed in line with expectations? For example, when the going got tough for the equity markets earlier this year they were a disappointment, as evidenced by the Barclays Hedge Fund Index return of -2.61% for the first six months of 2020.
Preliminary U.S. GDP numbers for the second quarter were released this week. U.S GDP declined by 32.9%. This officially puts the United States in a recession if you go by the 1974 rule of thumb definition established by former Bureau of Labor Commissioner, Julius Shiskin.
Equities were off slightly for the week as investors pulled back ahead of a newsy week highlighted by several earnings announcements, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting and uncertainty on fiscal stimulus extensions.
U.S. companies continued announcing second quarter earnings this week. With 15% of S&P 500 companies reporting, earnings and sales are better than expected. Earnings growth is 14.8% higher than estimated.
Equities advanced on the week despite initial weakness from increasing lockdown measures across the country. The S&P 500 advanced 1.8% on the week, but this time it was led by value and laggard names.
June’s unemployment rate was better than expected despite a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in some states. 11.1% of the U.S. labor force remains unemployed. The rate, a significant increase from last year, is lower than the consensus’ estimate of 12.5%.
Domestic equity markets were up on the week as the second quarter ended. The weekly gain in the S&P 500 was 2.2% and helped bring the quarterly return to 20.5%.
There was a decline in domestic equity markets this week. The S&P 500 Index was down 2.01%. Global increases in COVID-19 cases have led to increased fears of a pronounced “second-wave.” The Google Activity Index, the blue line in the graph below, shows increasing global mobility as lockdowns ease.