Stock prices fluctuated amid inflation concerns and bargain hunting, leaving stocks mixed for the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.51%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 dropped 0.43%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index advanced 0.31%. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, gained 0.67%.1,2,3
Lots of Motion, Little Movement
Stocks began last week extending their losses from the previous week, as the slide in technology and other high-growth stocks resumed. Inflation worries also weighed on the market.
After steep declines in early Wednesday trading, market sentiment took a more positive turn, allowing stocks to pare their losses as the session came to a close, despite news that the Fed could be contemplating tapering its monthly bond purchases.4
This positive momentum continued into Thursday, aided by a declining initial jobless claims number and a strong rebound in technology. The rebound lost steam into Friday’s close, leaving stocks little changed for the week.5
The Fed Hints at a Turn
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) on Wednesday released the minutes of its April meeting. The report suggested that a number of committee participants had raised the idea that—if the economy continues to make progress—it might be appropriate to adjust the pace of the Fed’s monthly bond purchase program.4
With inflation appearing to accelerate, the markets have been watchful for signs that the Fed would begin tightening its easy-money policies. This is the first time since the pandemic that the Fed has suggested that a scaling back of bond purchases could happen, though no timetable was discussed.
It’s important to note that the April Fed meeting took place prior to the release of April’s Consumer Price Index, which showed a higher-than-expected increase of 4.2%.6
Footnotes and Sources
2. The Wall Street Journal, May 21, 2021
3. The Wall Street Journal, May 21, 2021
4. CNBC, May 19, 2021
5. FoxBusiness.com, May 20, 2021
6. CNBC, May 19, 2021
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Weekly Market Insights: Inflation Concerns Continue
May 24, 2021