As if coming out of hibernation in the spring, the bears re-emerged last week causing the major markets to decline substantially. By the end of the week, the NASDAQ and the Emerging Markets Indices were the two major markets still positive year to date.
The declines began last week around the controversy of Cambridge Analytica’s alleged use of Facebook data and its impact of the 2016 Election. Questions swirled as analysts and reporters questioned what regulations might need to be created as a result of this news story.
Not surprisingly, the Information Technology sector was the hardest hit. Nevertheless, all 11 sectors closed out the week in the red.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve increased the rate 25 basis points to 1.5% - 1.75% as was widely expected. However, the item that really made headlines was the announcement that the Fed would likely only raise rates a total of three times in 2018, temporarily curtailing the rumors of a possible fourth increase this year. Nevertheless, the Fed does anticipate that additional rate increase would be likely in later years.
On Thursday, President Trump signed an executive order to impose up to $60 billion worth of tariffs on China. This action follows an investigation which identified potentially unfair trade practices with the U.S.
China in turn retaliated with counter tariffs which could total as much as $3 billion on U.S. imports. But given the amount of exports to China in 2016, this has been viewed as a modest response to the Trump Administration’s actions.
In a week filled with losses, Crude Oil managed to end higher as the EIA’s Weekly inventory report reflected a decline in stockpiles.
This week, market participants will have some extra time to pause and reflect on the recent events in the periphery of the markets as the trading week will be shortened with only four trading days due to the Good Friday holiday.