The signs of the changing season are in the air following last Friday’s massive selloff as the markets remained in a volatile state all week. The Major Markets ended the week across the board depending on the elements that make up each market.
The S&P 500 sectors give greater clarity to the specific shifts that occurred by Friday’s close. The greatest gains were in the technology Sector largely due to the burst in price of Apple’s stock as it traded at an intraday high for the year and closed with an 11.43% gain on the week.
The energy sector didn’t fare as well last week as the sector dropped by just about as much as technology rose. This was largely in response to the fall in Crude oil prices as the S&P Crude Oil Index fell -6.11% week over week.
Fed Member Comments
Monday began the week with three different Fed members making additional comments which aided in the rebound in the S&P 500 from the prior week.
Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President, Dennis Lockhart, a non-voting member spoke at the National Association of Business Economists and had an optimistic view of the economy stating that he views it as “chugging along, not stalling out.” However, he acknowledged that some other members view the economy as being in a low growth rut as he said that “I think circumstances call for a lively discussion next week.”
Lael Brainard’s comments later in the day backed up Lockhart’s sentiment, not by supporting a rate hike, rather in her concerns on economic growth. She stated "Downside risks are also present in emerging market economies, where growth has slowed rapidly in recent years." "Most importantly, China is undergoing a challenging transition from a growth model based on investment, exports, and debt-fueled state-owned enterprises to one driven by consumption, services, and dynamic private businesses. Because of the adjustment costs along this transition path and demographic trends, Chinese growth will likely continue to slow."
On Tuesday, Lockhart then announced that he would be stepping down on February 28th of 2017. This was not unexpected due to the term limits in place for Presidents of regional Fed banks. As the Wall street journal reports, they can serve until they’re 65, unless appointed after turning 55, in which case they can serve for a maximum of 10 years or until they’re 75, whichever comes first. Lockhart, who is currently 69 was appointed back on March 1st, 2007, so this would be the very longest he can remain at this post.
Nevertheless, market participants remained fixated on upcoming Federal Reserve meeting and answer to the question, “What’s next for the Federal Funds Rate?”