Weekly Close: Solid week ends on bumpy note

The stock market ended a decent week on a shaky note, though a late rally toward morning highs masked a bumpy session. The Nasdaq (-0.2%) finished just below its flat line while the Dow (+0.4%) and S&P 500 (+0.5%) recorded gains. The three indices gained a respective 2.0%, 0.3%, and 1.8% for the week while the Russell 2000 (+0.1%) ended little changed, narrowing this week’s loss to 0.4%.

Equities climbed out of the gate, allowing the S&P 500 to touch its best level in almost six weeks in early trade while the Nasdaq underperformed from the start after showing relative strength earlier this week.

The market ran into resistance about an hour after the open as Treasuries widened this week’s losses. The selling in Treasuries accelerated after a research note released by Citigroup called for four consecutive 50-bps rate hikes, followed by two 25-bps hikes. Treasuries retreated to fresh lows for the year with the 10-yr yield ending the day at 2.49%, up 15 bps for the day and up 34 bps for the week.

Higher yields put some renewed pressure on growth stocks, resulting in the midday underperformance in the Nasdaq and sectors like technology (-0.1%) and consumer discretionary (-0.1%). Meanwhile, the remining nine groups finished the day in positive territory.

Even with today’s loss, the technology sector ended the week ahead of the broader market with a gain of 2.3%. NVIDIA ( NVDA 276.92, -4.58, -1.6%) was among today’s laggards, as it pulled back from yesterday’s surge to its highest level since mid-January.

Homebuilders and improvement store names weighed on the discretionary sector as the ongoing weakness in Treasuries sets the stage for higher mortgage rates. The iShares Dow Jones US Home Construction ETF ( ITB 61.31, -0.88, -1.4%) retreated for the third consecutive day, falling toward its February low (60.02).

On the upside, five sectors gained at least 1.0% with energy (+2.3%) spending the bulk of the session in the lead, even when crude oil traded lower in morning action. However, WTI crude turned positive amid reports of an attack on a Saudi oil field. There was more talk about another release from the strategic reserve while Chevron ( CVX 169.31, +3.01, +1.8%) received clearance to resume operations in Venezuela. WTI crude climbed $2.59, or 2.3%, to $113.83/bbl, gaining $10.80, or 10.5%, for the week.

Energy was followed by the utilities sector (+1.5%) which benefited from the market’s shaky showing, while financials (+1.3%) and real estate (+1.2%) bounced after lagging earlier this week.

The materials sector (+1.1%) finished near the middle of the pack, masking this week’s strength. The group gained 4.1% for the week with fertilizer producers Mosaic ( MOS 71.34, +2.77, +4.0%) and CF Industries ( CF 109.52, +3.12, +2.9%) powering to fresh 52-week highs, alongside steelmaker Nucor ( NUE 157.62, +4.10, +2.7%).

Reviewing today’s economic data:

  • Pending Home Sales fell 4.1% in February (Briefing.com consensus 1.2%) after decreasing a revised 5.8% (from -5.7%) in January.
  • The final March reading for the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index checked in at 59.4 (Briefing.com consensus 59.5) versus the preliminary reading of 59.7. The final reading for February was 62.8. The March reading marks the lowest level for the index since October 2012.
  • The key takeaway from the report is that rising inflation is eating away at consumer sentiment, as consumers recognize their standard of living has been reduced because their income is not keeping up with inflation. Notably, it was indicated in the report that 32% of consumers expect their overall financial position to worsen in the year ahead, which is the highest level since the survey started in the mid-1940s.

February advance Retail Inventories (prior 1.9%), advance Wholesale Inventories (prior 0.8%), and the advance goods trade deficit (prior -$107.6 bln) will be reported on Monday at 8:30 ET.

  • Dow Jones Industrial Average -4.1% YTD
  • S&P 500 -4.7% YTD
  • Russell 2000 -7.5% YTD
  • Nasdaq Composite -9.4% YTD


  • Europe: DAX +0.2%, FTSE +0.2%, CAC -0.0%
  • Asia: Nikkei +0.1%, Hang Seng -2.5%, Shanghai -1.2%


  • Crude Oil +2.59 @ 113.83
  • Nat Gas +0.15 @ 5.60
  • Gold -10.90 @ 1952.90
  • Silver -0.29 @ 25.55
  • Copper -0.03 @ 4.69