For most of last week, investors seemed to react to negotiations concerning the debt ceiling. Despite a lackluster ending to the week, stocks closed generally higher. Tech shares climbed nearly 4.0%, while consumer discretionary stocks also posted gains. Overall, each of the benchmark indexes listed here ended last week higher, led by the Nasdaq, followed by the Russell 2000, the S&P 500, the Global Dow, and the Dow. In fact, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 had their best week since March. Ten-year Treasury yields added 24 basis points.
A jump in tech shares pushed stocks higher last Monday, as investors continued to focus on debt ceiling negotiations at the White House. The small caps of the Russell 2000 outperformed the indexes listed here, climbing 1.2%. The Nasdaq rose 0.7%, followed by the Global Dow (0.5%), the S&P 500 (0.3%), and the Dow (0.1%). Crude oil prices gained 1.8% to $71.28 per barrel, as OPEC+ prepared to cut supplies.
Wall Street rallied last Wednesday, fueled by optimism that an agreement could be reached on the debt ceiling. The small caps of the Russell 2000, which is sensitive to economic developments, jumped 2.2% by the close of trading. The Nasdaq rose 1.3%, followed by the Dow and the S&P 500, which advanced 1.2%.
Last Friday, an abrupt halt to debt ceiling talks sent investors scurrying away from stocks. Of the benchmark indexes listed here, only the Global Dow (0.2%) advanced by the close of trading.
Stock Market Indexes
Chart reflects price changes, not total return. Because it does not include dividends or splits, it should not be used to benchmark performance of specific investments.
Last Week’s Economic News
Retail sales rose 0.4% in April after declining 0.7% in March. For the 12 months ended in April, retail sales have increased 1.6%. Several categories contributed to the April advance in retail sales including motor vehicle and parts dealers (0.4%), building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (0.5%), health and personal care stores (0.9%), general merchandise stores (0.9%), miscellaneous store retailers (2.4%), nonstore (online) retailers (1.2%), and food services and drinking places (0.6%). Retailers that saw sales decrease include furniture and home furnishing stores (-0.7%), electronics and appliance stores (-0.5%), food and beverage stores (-0.2%), grocery stores (-0.4%), gasoline stations (-0.8%), clothing and clothing accessories stores (-0.3%), sporting goods, hobby, musical instrument, and book stores (-3.3%), and department stores (-1.1%).
The number of building permits issued for residential housing construction declined 1.5% in April and was 21.1% below the April 2022 rate. However, building permits issued for single-family construction increased 3.1% last month. Housing starts rose 2.2%, while single-family housing starts advanced 1.6%. Housing completions fell 10.4% in April, while single-family housing completions were down 6.5%.
The national average retail price for regular gasoline was $3.536 per gallon on May 15, $0.003 per gallon higher than the prior week’s price but $0.955 less than a year ago. Also, as of May 15, the East Coast price decreased $0.030 to $3.397 per gallon; the Gulf Coast price rose $0.034 to $3.079 per gallon; the Midwest price increased $0.047 to $3.440 per gallon; the Rocky Mountain price declined $0.020 to $3.518 per gallon; and the West Coast price dipped $0.011 to $4.519 per gallon.
Eye on the Week Ahead
This is a busy week for important economic data. New single-family home sales figures for April are released this week. March saw sales increase 9.6% for the fifth straight month. The second estimate of first-quarter gross domestic product is out this week. The first estimate showed the economy accelerated at an annualized rate of 1.1%. The personal income and outlays report for April is also available this week. Data from the last report showed consumer spending was flat in March, while consumer prices for goods and services rose 0.3%.
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