All data is for the week ended September 3, 2021
US equities moved higher again last week with the S&P 500 rising 0.62%, the Russell 2000 advancing 0.68% and the NASDAQ gaining 1.57%. Overseas markets were stronger, with the developed markets (MSCI EAFE) rising 1.80% and emerging markets (MSCI EEM) moving 3.42% ahead. Growth stocks outperformed value stocks in the US as defensive sectors (real estate, health care and staples) outperformed cyclicals (financials, energy and materials). 1
Bond yields rose and values declined following Friday’s jobs report that was far below expectations since the timetable for a tapering by the Federal Reserve has been pushed out from “perhaps September” to now “perhaps November”. Recall that the Fed has been buying $120 billion worth of bonds monthly in an effort to stimulate a return to full employment and that they plan to reduce, or taper, those purchases when/if full employment is detectable. Meanwhile bond values have been holding up relatively well since the Fed chair separated taper timing from rate-liftoff timing. The 10-year bond yield edged up 2 basis points to 1.33%.2
Gold (GLDM), a Precious Metals and ETF Endowment Series holding, rose as the US dollar weakened last week,8 particularly after the disappointing employment report (see Economic Data below) that included higher labor inflation. Overseas, the Eurozone reported a 10-year high for inflation of 3.0% inAugust3, also driving demand for gold as a storehouse of value. The price of gold rose 0.75 % for the week to close at $1,839.90 per troy ounce.4
At 235,000 new jobs in August, the employment report was sharply lower than the consensus estimate of 720,000, and a sharp decline from the prior month. Employment for the prior two months were revised higher by 134,000 — somewhat mitigating the miss. While supply bottlenecks and the Covid delta variant appear to be the drivers of the shortfall in new employment, the biggest culprit for the disappointment was in the leisure & hospitality sector which showed no gains. As the unemployment rate moved 0.2% points lower to 5.2% month-over month, average wages rose 4.3% year-over-year.5
The Services index registered 61.7 percent, 2.4 percentage points lower than the all-time high reading of 64.1 in July, but still indicating the 15th straight month of growth for the services sector. (Note any reading above 50 indicates growth.) The tight labor market, materials shortages, inflation and logistics issues continue to cause capacity constraints, affecting growth.6
Home prices surged 18.6% in June on a year-over-year basis, the highest rate in more than 30 years and the 13th consecutive month of accelerating prices. For the 25th straight month, Phoenix led the 20 largest cities with a 29.3% annual gain followed by San Diego which posted a 27.1% year-over-year increase. 7
American Tower Corp. (AMT) and Digital Realty Trust (DLR), both G50 holdings, rose 5.78% and 4.68%, respectively, as the real estate investment trust sector rose on rising interest rates and the data centers sub-sector attracted more investors to lower-risk property types.
Canadian National Railway Co. (CNI), a G40i holding, rose 15.29% in a relief rally that their potential acquisition of Kansas City Southern Rail (KCS) has been terminated. A Canadian government board banned the combination.9
Varonis Systems Inc. (VRNS) and ServiceNow, Inc. (NOW), both G33 and Core Select holdings, rose 9.87% and 7.31%, respectively, on continued strength in the enterprise computer security software stocks.
Did you know…
Cows have regional accents like humans. Language specialists examined this issue after dairy farmers noticed their cows had slightly different moos, depending on which herd they came from. Dr. Jeanine Treffers-Daller at the University of the West of England agreed that the accent could be influenced by relatives, saying, “When we are learning to speak, we adopt a local variety of language spoken by our parents, so the same could be said about the variation in the cow moo.”
Mariann Montagne, CFA
8 All weekly changes in US dollar index and company stock prices: Yahoo Finance
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