The S&P 500 was down slightly on the week as sector dispersion was again a major factor. Materials were up more than 4% while both energy and financials gained. The NASDAQ was down 3.3% as technology bellwethers were sold aggressively following good earnings.
There was another drop in existing home sales this week. Only 6.01 million homes were sold in March, down from February’s 6.24 million. This is the second consecutive month we have seen a drop.
If you’ve been following the markets during the pandemic, as it seems everyone has, you know it’s been very quiet. Really nothing new happening. Wait a minute, what? Quite the opposite is true.
The S&P 500 pushed higher despite some softness mid-week. Upside was achieved by the more defensive sectors as growth and small caps struggled to gain traction. The S&P 500 ended the week up 1.2%, but small cap stocks finished in the red.
Earnings season has begun with strong expectations for the first quarter. Stimulus payments in March are expected to positively impact company earnings. The current forecast is for earnings per share to grow by 29.25%.
We all know people who have been looking for a house over the last few months. This search story is similar across the country.
Lack of Supply + High Demand = Inflated Prices
Pre-2020, a common refrain was that millennials are just not buying houses.
Equities advanced last week over the shortened holiday week. The S&P 500 was up 2.7%, led by a rebound in the Technology sector. The NASDAQ was up 3.4% and took its cue from a decline in Treasury yields.
There was a significant drop in personal income in February; it decreased by 7.1% over the month. This is after January saw an increase of 10.1%. The main contributing factor to the decrease was that there were no stimulus checks sent out in February.
Equities came under pressure this week as the anticipated stimulus pop failed to materialize. The S&P 500 was down 2.1% on the week, but there was significant dispersion with many popular stocks down much more.