US Stock Markets Ended August 13, 2021

The S&P 500 Index returned 0.75% last week, finishing the week with another all-time closing high of 4,468. Equity markets continue to climb as the index posted a 1.72% return for the first two weeks of August and is up 20.01% year-to-date. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also set a closing record of 35,515.38 last week. The week started on a negative note as markets opened lower on Monday with weekly US COVID-19 cases rising to levels not seen since earlier in the year as the delta variant continues to spread, increasing concerns of future economic growth. The worst of the negative sentiment was felt by the energy sector as the S&P 500 Energy Index declined 1.46% and crude oil prices declined 2.64% on Monday. Stocks advanced on Tuesday as an infrastructure spending plan was passed by the US Senate. This helped reverse the previous day's negative sentiment with energy being the biggest benefactor. The energy index returned 1.72% and oil prices climbed 2.72%, both recovering more than their previous day's losses. Crude oil prices showed their volatility throughout the week, but gained a mere 23 basis points, closing the week at $68.44 per barrel. U.S. initial jobless claims of 375K equaled expectations and were lower than previous week's claims of 385K. Steel producer Nucor Corp was the best performing stock in the S&P 500 Index returning 20.96% as the passing of the infrastructure plan boosted the stock and helped materials become the top performing sector for the week. The S&P 500 Semiconductor & Semiconductor Equipment Index declined 2.26%, making semiconductors the second worst performing industry last week. Some of the stocks that dragged on the industry included Micron Technology Inc., Lam Research Corp, Applied Materials Inc., KLA Corp, and Teradyne Inc., all in negative territory for the week. Micron Technology Inc. was downgraded last week by Morgan Stanley on concerns of possible weakness regarding memory chips going forward, though some analysts believe last week's decline of 13.51% may have been too much. Earnings announcements expected this week include NVIDIA Corp, Walmart Inc., The Home Depot Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., Lowe's Companies Inc., Target Corp, Deere & Company, Applied Materials Inc., and many more.
Posted on Monday, August 16, 2021 @ 7:59 AM

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.