Another week, another round of record highs. Despite concerns about how France’s upcoming presidential election could affect the European Union’s stability, U.S. stocks ended the week up yet again.[i] The S&P 500 gained 1.51%, the Dow added 1.75%, and the NASDAQ increased 1.82%—growth that represents record highs for all three indexes.[ii] International equities in the MSCI EAFE also posted positive returns, with 0.78% growth for the week.[iii]
A number of data reports also came out last week, and they tell a mostly encouraging story about the economy right now.
After a brief pause during inauguration week, stocks continued to climb last week. The S&P 500 added 1.03%, the NASDAQ was up 1.90%, and the MSCI EAFE increased by 1.29%.[i] The Dow also grew, adding 1.34%, ending the week above while hitting 20,000 for the first time ever.[ii]
Consumer confidence matched this positive performance, as the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment measurement beat expectations in January and reached the highest levels since 2004.[iii] However, one piece of data we received last week gave a less rosy view of the economy: initial GDP reports.
What Happened: GDP Missed Projections
A new presidential era began last Friday with Donald Trump’s inauguration, and the market reaction was far more restrained than its response to his election. For weeks after the presidential election, we saw markets defy expectations and post significant gains. In fact, the Dow grew by over 1,500 points between November 8 and December 12.[i]
In the four days of trading last week, major U.S. indexes continued the sideways performance we’ve seen since December. For the week, the S&P 500 was down 0.15%, the Dow lost 0.29%, and the NASDAQ gave back 0.34%.[ii] International stocks in the MSCI EAFE also declined by 0.48%.[iii]
The first trading week of 2017 is over, and during this time, all three major domestic indexes hit record highs. The DOW reached 19,999.63 in intra-day trading on Friday, January 6 —just 0.37 away from achieving 20,000 for the first time.[i] On the same day, the S&P 500 and NASDAQ both closed at record highs. For the week, the S&P 500 was up 1.70%, the Dow gained 1.02%, and the NASDAQ added 2.56%.[ii] International stocks in the MSCI EAFE increased by 1.77%.[iii]
To say that 2017 has started differently than 2016 would be an understatement. This time last year, we ended the week with all three indexes dropping at least 5.96% on fears about China’s economy.[iv]