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Bob Carey
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  US Stock Markets Ended March 4, 2022
Posted Under: Weekly Market Commentary

 
The S&P 500 Index returned -1.24% last week. After hitting its all-time closing high on the first day of trading this year, the index headed in the other direction and is currently down 8.94% year-to-date. Consumer discretionary, communication services, and information technology stocks make up approximately half of the index weight and have led the way down with all three sectors losing more than 13.9% this year. Though equities have shown a recent decline, February jobs data came in better than expected and the most recent U.S. initial jobless claims of 215K were lower than the consensus estimate of 225K and the previous week's claims of 232K. However, as supply chain issues, inflation, and future rate increases have raised concerns for equity investors this year, they are now digesting the conflict in Ukraine and the uncertainty of its effects here in the U.S. and the global economy. While financials and information technology led the way down last week, energy led all sectors to the upside posting a 9.31% return on the jump in oil prices as some politicians called for a ban of Russian crude oil imports over the conflict. Crude oil closed at $115.68 per barrel on Friday, rising 26.30% for the week. Crude hasn't seen per barrel prices of $100 or more since 2014. Energy stock Occidental Petroleum Corp posted the best performance in the S&P 500 Index last week, returning 44.94%. Other top performing energy names posting double digit returns last week included Coterra Energy Inc., APA Corp, Chevron Corp, Baker Hughes Company, EOG Inc., and Kinder Morgan Inc. Energy has returned 35.97% year-to-date and is the only sector in positive territory. Grocery chain The Kroger Company returned 26.86% last week after their earnings announcement revealed they beat expectations and indicated an optimistic outlook for 2022 growth. Several analysts raised their price targets for the stock after the announcement. Pennsylvania software company EPAM Systems Inc. was the worst performing stock in the S&P 500 Index last week with a -48.09% return. The stock price dropped substantially on Monday after pulling their guidance for first quarter and 2022 due to uncertainties caused by Russia's invasion. The company has 14,000 employees in the Ukraine, almost a quarter of their staff. Earnings announcements expected this week include Oracle Corp, Ulta Beauty Inc., Campbell Soup Company, Ciena Corp, Casey's General Stores Inc., among others.
Posted on Monday, March 7, 2022 @ 9:23 AM • Post Link Share: 
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These posts were prepared by First Trust Advisors L.P., and reflect the current opinion of the authors. They are based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security.
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