The Major Markets ended the week mixed with a strong gain of over a percent on the NASDAQ and then small gains on the S&P 500 and the MSCI World indices. Meanwhile, the Dow and the emerging markets ended lower.
Monday began the week with strength as the S&P 500 climbed over a percent intraday before locking in just shy of a percentage point gain for the day. However, these gains were given back Tuesday as the market reversed course and ended lower.
The Market traded higher prior to the release of the Federal Reserve Meeting Minutes at 2:00 PM ET. The formerly dovish Fed indicated that a June rate hike wasn’t completely off the table as a more hawkish tone came out of their notes. This caused the market to drop substantially in response before the market closed virtually unchanged on the day. The S&P 500 fell into the red for the year mid-day Thursday before the it found support just above the 2025 level to reduce the losses on the day.
Friday’s session opened higher and then traded in a sideways, choppy pattern to close the week with the first weekly gain in 4 weeks.
Wednesday’s volatility around the Fed minutes is proof to how much impact central banks have to the overall sentiment of the markets. In fact, when you review the intraday activity on the days when the minutes were released, you can see a consistent sharp response by the S&P 500 at 2:00 PM ET that is uncharacteristic of most other trading days. It is still unclear at what point fed policy statements will cease having such an impactful consequence.
As Mentioned Earlier, The MSCI Emerging Market Index had a fairly large loss as it logged the fourth weekly beating in a row, taking the index down -6.5% for the month as of Friday.
Metals had a rough week as Gold and Silver both saw a drop in value. Silver took the biggest hit at it lost 3.5% on the week. Most of the Metal Indices ended lower with the exception being Aluminum which saw some green. The drop in industrial metals corresponds with the concerns in manufacturing.
Monday’s Empire State Manufacturing Survey surprised to the downside with a -9.02 reading. This causes April’s surprise to the upside to look like more and more like an anomaly.
There were three different housing reports released this week showing stability within the housing market. The Housing Market Index had a reading of 58 for the fourth month in a row.
Housing Starts rose just over 6.5% month over month with the largest increase being in Midwest.
Existing Home Sales rose better than expected with an increase of 5.45 million homes sold. This represents a 1.7% month over month increase.
Finally, as we approach the Memorial Day Weekend, gas prices continued to increase as the National Average rose to $2.17 for Regular as the Summer Driving Season begins to really kick into gear.
According to the Energy Information Administration, the summer driving season spans from April to September with peak gasoline demand typically about a million barrels per day higher at the Summer peak compared to the low which is generally in January.
One consolation is that gas prices this year are significantly lower than what they have been in recent years . This may be the perfect summer to take that road trip that you’ve always wanted.