Equities were mixed in the holiday‐shortened week. The S&P 500 declined slightly, while the Nasdaq and Russell 2000 gained. It was the eighth straight weekly gain for the Russell 2000 which sits just below it’s all‐time high.
All four major stock market indices made record highs on Thursday, and advanced for the week. The Cboe VIX Volatility Index fell to 21.7 from 23.3 last week, and the US 10‐year Treasury yield rose 0.05% to 0.95%. Optimism for a new coronavirus relief bill fueled markets most of the week with lawmakers continually hinting that they were close to an agreement, but ultimately they failed to arrive at a stimulus deal by weeks end.
While each party has their own agenda for the economy, taxes, and spending, the market has continued having it’s own agenda. Regardless of the political party that leads the country from the
White House, the market has continued to push forward. As the graphic below shows, regardless of party, average market returns have been virtually the same.
The S&P 500 Index was down 4 of the 5 days during the week as optimism for additional fiscal stimulus began to fade. The House and Senate did pass a one‐week federal spending extension to avoid a shutdown through Dec. 18 to buy more time for a stimulus agreement.
Don’t tell December that it was a November to Remember. The S&P 500 large‐cap index, the tech‐heavy Nasdaq Composite, and the Russell 2000 small‐cap index all closed out the first week of December, right where they ended November, at new record highs.
Global equities and U.S. small caps had their best month ever and the mega‐cap Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed above the 30,000 for the first time. It probably isn’t a coincidence that the Fed’s balance sheet also hit a record high as liquidity injections persisted to support the recovery. For three straight Mondays, different drug companies announced advances on vaccine trials that sparked a big rotation into stocks that benefit most from economic growth; particularly small, cyclical, and value oriented stocks.
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Stocks got back to their winning ways with most major global equity indices advancing. The S&P 500, Dow, and Nasdaq indices were all up more than 2% and the Russell 2000 small cap index gained nearly +4%, its fourth straight weekly gain, now up +20.7% in November. In what seems like a routine, for three straight Mondays a promising Covid‐19 vaccine was announced; Pfizer on Nov. 9, Moderna on Nov.16, and AstraZeneca on Nov 23.
The S&P 500 and Dow couldn’t advance for a third week in a row, but small cap stocks were able to extend their streak to three. The Russell 2000 small cap index has gained about +16% in November. For the second week in a row, markets opened on news of a promising new vaccine, only to fade as the week wore on after new coronavirus cases in the U.S. continued to surge and new lockdown measures were announced by various state and local officials.
The S&P 500 and Dow were up for the second week in a row, but it was small cap stocks that topped the leader board for the second straight week. After delivering + 6.9% last week, the Russell 2000 small cap index added another +6.1% this week. Promising news of a potential COVID‐19 vaccine helped Value oriented stocks trounce Growth stocks. But with cases surging both in the U.S. and abroad, many are wondering if this is just another Value head‐fake.