Hello and welcome to this week’s Jones Financial Blog! Our goal at Jones & Associates is to help keep you up to date with interesting current economic/market happenings as well as some proprietary portfolio happenings. Knowledge is power and thought we would share some of ours with you. Enjoy!
All data is for the week ended February 12, 2021. Note the U.S. markets are closed today in observance of George Washington’s birthday. Economic/Market happenings:
Equities rose for all the major global indices, with greater gains for higher risk stocks. The S&P 500 added 1.28%, the Russell 2000 rose 2.54% and the NASDAQ increased 1.74%. Overseas, the developed markets grew 2.09% while the emerging markets strengthened by 2.41%. In the U.S. energy and technology were the best performing sectors while consumer discretionary and utilities were the laggards.(1)
Interest rates rose and values eased across all maturities as the yield curve steepened slightly. The benchmark 10-year U.S. treasury yield added 1 basis point to reach 1.20%, the highest finish to a week in nearly a year. (2)
Crude oil rose to its highest price in over a year as OPEC curbed production and demand is likely to rise post-vaccines. West Texas crude rose 4.8% to finish the week at $59.60 per barrel. (3)
U.S. inflation (consumer price index or CPI) was muted versus expectations as the CPI rose 0.3% in January after climbing 0.4% a month earlier. After excluding volatile food and energy prices, the core CPI was unchanged versus an expected increase of 0.1%. Gasoline was a standout, rising by 7.4% on a month-over-month basis. Over the last year, CPI rose 1.4%. (4)
Consumer confidence was below expectations, dropping to its lowest mark in six months. It fell to 76.2 in early February from 79 last month; estimates were for a level of 80.8. The disappointment was centered upon expectations for the future and those with incomes of less than $75,000 per year. (5)
Proprietary portfolio happenings:
Company News (4)
AstraZeneca PLC (AZN), a G40i holding, reported revenues that beat expectations and management raised guidance for both revenue and earnings for the full year when considering its acquisition of Alexion (ALXN) and the company’s increasing role in fighting the pandemic with its vaccine. (7)
IQVIA Holdings Inc. (IQV), a Contrarian Choice, Core Select and G33 holding, reported revenues, earnings and free cash flow that were well ahead of expectations. Management also guided full year results higher than consensus expectations. Shares rose 3.5% for the week. (8)
Louisiana Pacific (LPX), a Core Select and Contrarian Choice holding, and NextEra Energy Inc. (NEE), a Core Select holding, each raised their dividend by 10% last week. (9,10)
Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM), a G40i holding, announced it will raise $9 billion to expand capacity amid a shortage in microchips. This announcement comes at the same time that auto makers announced delays in global vehicle production to due chip shortages. Shares of this Taiwan-based semiconductor manufacturer added 8.0% for the week. (11,12)
Did You Know? Eating lobster today is often associated with fine dining, but during colonial times in North America there was a time when lobster was more typical fare for the poor. Back then prisoners and indentured servants were often regularly fed lobster. This became such a problem that Massachusetts even passed a law forbidding feeding indentured servants lobster more than twice a week. Also, during the 17th and 18th centuries, lobster was also often used for fertilizer in North America due to its low cost.