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Bob Carey
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  US Stock Markets Ended March 26, 2021
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The S&P 500 Index returned 1.58% after a choppy week of trading. The index pushed higher on Monday, but equities reversed direction the following day as concerns grew regarding the economic recovery with more European countries increasing their COVID-19 lockdown efforts. Crude oil prices declined 6.16% on Tuesday as they were also affected by the lockdown on concerns over future fuel demands. Communication services, consumer discretionary, and information technology placed downward pressure on the index on Wednesday, while crude oil rebounded 5.92% as potential supply disruptions arose due to a large container ship blocking the Suez Canal, an important supply route for crude. Crude oil closed at $60.97 per barrel on Friday, declining 73 basis points for the week. Prices have increased over 25% in 2021 helping make energy the best performing sector this year returning 34.82%. Equities were positive Thursday as Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said they would continue to aid the economy and gradually pull back the monetary support once the economy has recovered. U.S. initial jobless claims were reported at 684K which were lower than the consensus estimate of 730K and the previous week's claims of 770K. The best performing stock in the S&P 500 Index last week was Kansas City Southern, a rail freight transportation company, returning 13.14%. The stock opened higher on Monday on the announcement that Canadian Pacific Railway Limited would be acquiring the company. Applied Materials Inc., KLA Corp, and Lam Research Corp had a good week, returning 12.00%, 9.24%, and 7.73% respectively. The semiconductor equipment manufacturers had positive momentum after Intel Corp announced they plan to build two semiconductor foundries in the US and further increase capital spending. A semiconductor shortage has caused supply problems for many companies and given a tailwind to semiconductor equipment stocks. Media stocks ViacomCBS Inc. and Discovery Inc. were the two worst performing stocks last week in the S&P 500 Index, returning -50.46% and -45.52%. The stocks dropped as more analysts downgraded them for being overvalued. Both stocks were up over 150% YTD before their decline last week. Earnings announcements expected this week include Micron Technology Inc., Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., McCormick & Company Inc., CarMax Inc., and PVH Corp.
Posted on Monday, March 29, 2021 @ 8:11 AM • Post Link Share: 
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