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 March 12, 2021.
The President signed into law another $1.9 trillion of stimulus on Thursday, bringing the total stimulus approved by Congress and the President to $6 trillion over the past year. The broad U.S. market index (S&P 500) rose 2.69%, the Russell 2000 increased 7.36% and the NASDAQ added 3.12%. Overseas, the international markets (MSCI EAFE) increased 3.00% while the emerging markets (MSCI EM) added 0.70%. In the U.S., the best performing sectors were real estate and consumer discretionary while communication services and energy were the laggards. As in the prior week, small cap value stocks were the best performers by style. (1)
Bond prices fell as yields rose and the yield curve steepened. The Aggregate Bonds Index (ETF: AGG) declined 0.43% (2) as the 10-year treasury yield advanced 8 basis points to 1.64% and the 30-year treasury yield added 12 basis points to 2.40%, both of which were the highest rates since January last year. (3)
The U.S. Energy Information Administration raised its estimates for oil prices to $57.24 per barrel of West Texas crude, a 14% hike. It also raised its outlook for production this year modestly while raising its production outlook by 4% for next year. (4) The price of West Texas crude declined 0.73% for the week to $65.61 per barrel. (5)
Confidence among the chief executives of large U.S. employers surged over the past three months. A quarterly poll reported a 21-point jump in the economic outlook index since December, far above the level that indicates growth and indicating one of the quickest and most acute recoveries in optimism in the history of the survey, led by the index for company's hiring plans. (6)
Inflation over the last year rose to 1.7% after falling to nearly zero early in the pandemic. The Consumer Price Index rose last month (in line with expectations) led by higher cost of oil and some shortages of key materials. The core inflation rate, which excludes volatile energy and food, was 0.1% last month. (7) The core producer price index (excluding food and energy) rose 2.2% from a year ago, an acceleration from last month’s 2.0% rate. Energy prices jumped 6.0%. (8)
Initial jobless claims on a weekly basis dropped to a new four-month low, which was better than expected. Another 712,000 people filed for unemployment benefits, 13,000 below the consensus estimate and 42,000 lower than the prior week. (9)
Proprietary portfolio happenings:
Company News (10)
AeroVironment, Inc. (AVAV), a G33 holding, reported revenues and earnings that beat expectations and management guided next year’s results ahead of consensus expectations. Shares rose 15.4% for the week. (11)
Deutsche Post (DPSGY), a G40i holding, rose 11.0% last week after announcing earnings that were ahead of expectations. Management also announced a 17% dividend hike. Yield on the new rate is 3.00%. (12)
Southwest Airlines (LUV) a Contrarian Choice and Core Select holding, rose 7.2% last week as airline stocks rebounded, prompted by consumer optimism for multiple COVID-19 vaccine successes and increased freedom to travel. (13)
Did You Know? Ireland does not have a national flower. However, the shamrock is a registered trademark of the Republic of Ireland. It is also the symbol on the national airline of Ireland, Aer Lingus. The four-leafed clover, an uncommon variety of clover used as a good luck charm, is also often called a shamrock. Traditionally, Irish men wear shamrocks on their lapels on St. Patrick's Day, March 17.
Sources: (1) JP Morgan Weekly Market Recap 3-15-21
(3) US Treasury
(10) All weekly changes in company stock prices: Yahoo Finance