Sometimes it seems like we are on a merry-go-round. As the music plays and the carousel turns, we may look for something different around the next turn, but, inevitably, we end up seeing the same thing. As humans, if you are following the day-by-day gyrations of the market, all of that spinning and redundancy can create emotional turmoil. This past week was no exception. Stocks ended the week higher, rebounding from a sell-off on Monday. Growth shares handily outperformed value stocks for the fifth consecutive week, leaving them ahead for the year to date, according to Russell benchmarks. Early Monday, the Russell 2000 Index was down 10% from its closing high on March 15, marking its first “correction” in more than one year.
Many observers attributed the steep declines at the start of the week to growing fears about the spread of the Delta variant of the Coronavirus. Cases and hospitalizations rose in many parts of the country. Stocks tied to the reopening of the economy, such as cruise operators and airlines, fared particularly poorly. Energy stocks were also especially weak, as oil prices suffered their biggest daily decline since April 2020 after OPEC and other major oil exporters struck a deal to increase output. Other factors were also at work in Monday’s declines, however, with discussion of “peak” themes around growth, profits, and stimulus policies seeming to be an overhang on sentiment.
The major benchmarks recouped almost all their losses on Tuesday, although a particular catalyst for the move higher was hard to identify. Positive news on the housing sector may have been partly responsible, with U.S. housing starts increasing by more than forecast in June, suggesting residential construction is stabilizing despite lingering supply chain constraints and labor shortages. Existing home sales in June, reported Thursday, also rose for the first time in five months. Prominent second-quarter corporate earnings reports also appeared to play a role in the rebound.
Market volatility and key technical thresholds continue to loom, coupled with last week’s labor market data, which was less than encouraging, with weekly jobless claims hitting their highest level (419,000) in two months. The cycle continues… But as we experience each turn, let’s remember to rejoice always, to pray without ceasing, to give thanks in all circumstances; and to remember that this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for all of us (1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18).
Sources: Yahoo Finance, Reuters.com, and JP Morgan Market Insights
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