The Major Markets closed higher as the back and forth fluctuations of the market continue. The NASDAQ set a new all-time high while the remaining major markets continue their attempts to reclaim their prior high-water marks.
Tuesday marked the 9-year Anniversary from the Financial Crisis low of 666.79. As of Friday’s close, the S&P 500 has generated impressive 299% return. However, it hasn’t always been a smooth ride. The index has seen at least 7 drops of 10% or greater and one pull back that exceeded 20% back in 2011. This serves to show just how unique the period of low volatility was that spanned from the end of 2016 to the beginning of 2018.
It was a full news week as headlines came from all parts of the globe. In Washington, President Trump pushed forward with his plans for tariffs on steel and aluminum. This issue appears to have become the final straw in policy differences for Gary Cohn, who resigned from his position as economic advisor to the president. Nevertheless, on Thursday, President Trump issued a proclamation to move forward with implementation of the plan, but not before issuing exemptions for Canada and Mexico. The president also stated that other countries could receive an exemption if they were willing to renegotiate their trade deals with the US.
Over the weekend, representatives from the EU and Japan met with US officials in Washington to work out such a deal. However, no official progress has yet to be reported.
These new duties are set to go into effect on March 23rd.
Interestingly, in a move that was little reported stateside, the EU also renewed their own tariffs on imports of steel pipes from China. Reuters reports that the tariffs were first implemented back in 2011 and the duties now stand between 28.3 and 71.9%.
In a startling turn of events following the Olympics in South Korea, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un extended an invitation to meet with President Trump. The White House stated that “nothing is being ruled out”, but also held that the regime must make some significant steps before a meeting can take place. If this meeting were to take place in May as proposed, it would represent the first face-to-face meeting between a sitting US president and North Korean leader.
The week ended with the release of the Employment Situation Report. The report made headlines last week as February’s initial report reflected a surprise beat of expectations with 313k new jobs added.
Finally, treasury yields rose again last week. The 10-year yield closed out the week at 2.9%. This is back towards the higher end of where rates have been recently. Meanwhile, the shorter term 2-year yield closed at 2.27% after trading as high as 2.286% intraday, matching the 9-year high from February 28th.