The Federal Reserve's comments this week reaffirmed its stance of maintaining the glide path for interest rates and asset purchases. Most glaring in the comments was a lack of immediate concern for inflation considering the recent rise in interest rates.
The yield curve continued to steepen this week and returned to levels not observed since January 2020 with the longer-dated US 10-year treasury yield reaching 1.72% and the US 30-year reaching 2.43%.
US Initial Jobless claims are at a current level of 770,000, up from 725,000 last week and up from 211,000 one year ago. This is a change of 6.21% from last week and 264.9% from one year ago.
US Retail Sales fell 3.0% in the month of February, following a strong 7.6% gain in January. Automotive sales lead the decline as 11 of 13 categories retracted during the month. The polar vortex is credited as the primary culprit behind the pullback. We anticipate the March report to be much stronger as stimulus checks continue to be distributed, vaccines rollout, and more businesses continue to open.
The S&P 500 declined 1.78% on the week, with Thursday's single-day decline of 1.48% occurring just one day after an all-time high was reached. Year to date, the S&P 500 is positive 4.18% which contrasts with the S&P 500 Growth, which is negative 0.35%. The S&P 500 Value is up 9.30% YTD, representing equity investor's desire for positions that are more attractive from a valuation perspective.