May 11 – May 15 Week in review

The stock market closed lower last week, as concerns about an economic recovery, U.S.-China tensions, and valuations weighed on investor sentiment. The S&P 500 fell 2.3%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.7% and the Nasdaq fell 1.2%. The small cap Russell 2000 was the laggard dropping 5.5%.

The weakest areas this week were the energy, real estate, industrials, and financials sectors. The weakness in the energy space came despite strong gains in oil prices. The health care sector was spared, helped by its defensive-oriented nature and by the medical progress being made against COVID-19. Quidel, for instance, received FDA approval for its COVID-19 antigen test.

Commentary 5.18.20

The real action last week started with the Fed on Wednesday. Fed Chair Powell said the economic outlook remained highly uncertain and subject to significant downside risks, adding that a recovery may take some time to gather momentum. Mr. Powell dismissed the notion of implementing negative interest rates but suggested additional fiscal stimulus might be needed to prevent long-term economic damage.

Accordingly, House Democrats unveiled a $3 trillion relief bill to start the conversation among lawmakers. Reports later indicated, after the release of another dismal weekly jobless claims report, that the White House was interested in a fourth coronavirus relief bill, but just not the plan outlined by House Democrats.

While the market continued to look past another round of weak economic data, including retail sales for April, it became increasingly difficult to ignore the rising U.S.-China tensions that have contributed to the economic uncertainty referenced by Fed Chair Powell. Elevated equity valuations amid this uncertainty, thus, helped tame any real buying interest.

U.S.-China tensions were fueled by the Trump administration moving to block semiconductor shipments to Huawei Technologies, the FBI confirming that China-affiliated cyber actors targeted U.S. organizations conducting COVID-19-related research, China reportedly mulling retaliation, and President Trump wanting U.S.-listed Chinese companies to abide by U.S. accounting rules.

In the bond market U.S. Treasuries posted slim gains this week. The 2 year yield declined one basis point to 0.15%, and the 10 year yield declined four basis points to 0.64%.

In other markets WTI crude rallied, gaining 18.8%, or $4.64, to close at $29.38 a barrel. The U.S. Dollar Index increased 0.7% to 100.38.

May 18 – May 22 Economic Calendar

  • Monday
  • Housing Market Index
    10:00 AM ET

  • Tuesday
  • Housing Starts
    8:30 AM ET
  • Redbook
    8:55 AM ET
  • Jerome Powell Speaks
    10:00 AM ET

  • E-Commerce Retail Sales
    10:00 AM ET
  • Wednesday
  • MBA Mortgage Applications
    7:00 AM ET
  • Quarterly Services Report [Advance]
    10:00 AM ET
  • EIA Petroleum Status Report
    10:30 AM ET
  • 20-Yr Bond Auction
    1:00 PM ET
  • FOMC Minutes
    2:00 PM ET

  • Thursday
  • Jobless Claims
    8:30 AM ET
  • Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey
    8:30 AM ET
  • PMI Composite Flash
    9:45 AM ET
  • Existing Home Sales
    10:00 AM ET
  • Leading Indicators
    10:00 AM ET
  • EIA Natural Gas Report
    10:30 AM ET
  • Jerome Powell Speaks
    2:30 PM ET
  • Fed Balance Sheet
    4:30 PM ET
  • Money Supply
    4:30 PM ET
    • Friday
    • Baker-Hughes Rig Count
      1:00 PM ET




PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT A GUARANTEE OF FUTURE RESULTS. This commentary is a matter of opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended as investment advice and does not address or account for individual investor circumstances. Investment decisions should always be made based on the client's specific financial needs, goals and objectives, time horizon and risk tolerance. The statements contained herein are based solely upon the opinions of Telemus Capital, LLC. All opinions and views constitute our judgments as of the date of writing and are subject to change at any time without notice. Information was obtained from third party sources, which we believe to be reliable, but not guaranteed.

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