S&P 500 drops, volatility pops. After starting the month strong, global equity markets mostly gave up their gains as the month ended. The last week of January was the worst week for the S&P 500 since October and January was its first negative month in since October. Volatility (VIX) jumped from 21 to 37.
A mania around heavily‐shorted stocks, weaker than expected GDP data, and disappointing new vaccine results weighed on global stocks this week. Most major indices fell ‐3to‐4%, the worst week since October. The Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) spiked to 33.1 from 21.9 last Friday. However, bonds weren’t bothered much by all the stock commotion as the 10‐year U.S. Treasury yield was down two basis point to 1.07% (though it fell to 1% earlier in the week).
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On Thursday, the S&P 500 set another record high, and most major equity indexes posted solid results for the week. The technology‐heavy, growth‐oriented Nasdaq led with a +4.2% return and the S&P 500 gained +1.9%.
Equities began and ended the week with losses to mark their first weekly decline of the new year. Small companies, however, were able to advance and have now been positive in 10 of the last 11 weeks. The 10‐year Treasury yield rose as high as 1.18% early in the week but then backed off to finish at 1.08%. The 10‐year UST yield began the year at 0.91% and rose for each of the first five days before falling for 3 of the last four.
The year 2020 will forever be marked as the year of COVID-19; a virus that saw more than 20 million infected and took more than 300,000 American lives; more than 1.5 million around the globe; a pandemic that forced the entire world to shut down. This virus is still impacting our lives and infecting more than 200,000 every day. Recent vaccine developments finally offer some light at the end of the proverbial tunnel and reasons for optimism.
Stocks overcame a pair of contentious Senate runoff races, protestors storming the US Capitol, and a disappointing employment report to advance for the week and close at new all‐time highs. Bond markets have begun to price in higher inflation, greater‐than‐expected fiscal stimulus, and increased Treasury issuance with the 10‐year Treasury yield jumping 20 basis points, its biggest weekly increase
Finish strong. Stocks closed the quarter, and 2020, with strong returns, despite lingering economic concerns brought on by a resurgence in coronavirus cases, challenges with the vaccine roll‐out, and uncertainty around the policy implications following the Georgia Senate runoff outcome.
Equities ended the week, and the year, at new record highs amid the rollout of several Covid‐19 vaccines and a new economic relief package from Congress. Combining 2019 and 2020, the S&P and Nasdaq had their best two‐year performance since 1998 and 1999.
We have come through 2020 stronger, together and we’re here to help you jump start your 2021 with a few financial goals from our Managing Director Bentley Ford.