Economic Market Summary

Market Down and Dirty

Last Week’s Economic/Market Summary


  • U.S. equities finished the week mostly lower while trading in a very tight range.
    • S&P 500 -0.25% Dow -1.04% Russell 2000 -0.99%, Nasdaq +0.44%1
      • The All-Country World Index gained -0.55%.1
    • S&P 500 sub-sectors were mostly lower last week.
      • Consumer Discretionary & Utilities were the only positive sectors. 1
      • Energy, Materials & Financials led to the downside. 1
    • The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) gained 9% to end at 17.19. 1
  • US Treasury bond yields were slightly higher last week despite deflationary data coming in.
    • US 2yr +0.06% at 3.98%, 10yr +0.02% to 3.46%, 30yr +0.02% to 3.78%.1
    • Volatility is expected to continue as debt ceiling negotiations pick up speed in DC.
  • Commodities as an aggregate asset class moved lower last week.
    • WTI Crude declined -1.76%.1
    • Gold declined -0.30%.1
    • The US Dollar index gained +1.47%.1
  • In our opinion, U.S. economic data continued to be mixed last week.
    • Inflation data (CPI & PPI) slowed last month to their lowest levels since April 2021. 1
    • Initial jobless claims came in at their highest reading since Oct ’21. 1
    • Consumer sentiment in May plunged to a 6 month low. 1
  • An index of equities outside the US (FTSE All-World ex-US) sank -1.30% last week. 1


  • US Equities continued the trend of no big moves, ending the week mostly lower albeit not by very much.
    • Inflation coming in lower than expected seemed to be offset by concerns over a recession as well as debt ceiling negotiations with both sides being far off.
    • The Nasdaq led the way as the only positive sector with a gain of +0.44%.1
    • Interesting to note that the continued concentration of gains has gained steam to almost unprecedented levels.
      • For instance, with their large gains so far in ‘23, Apple & Microsoft now make up over 14% of the entire S&P 500 index. 1
    • With the “bigger getting bigger” move, the equal-weight S&P 500 index has underperformed the S&P 500 index by 7% in the last 3 months. 1
      • This is a top 3 move going back 20 years. 1
  • S&P 500 subsectors were mostly lower last week.
    • While defensive names have outperformed in down weeks, market participants increased bets on a soft landing have boosted Consumer Discretionary of late.
    • Energy & Financials continued their recent bout of weakness and were joined by Materials.
      • Financials tumbled for the 4th week in a row as the sector can’t seem to find any buyers. 1
      • Materials appeared to be weighed down by economic data out of China showing the long talked about “re-opening” trade fizzling out.
  • US Treasury yields were slightly higher across the yield curve last week.
    • All eyes will bounce back and forth between a heavy slate of Federal Reserve speakers this week and the closing window on the US debt ceiling.
      • Recent estimates place the US Treasury running out of money somewhere in early June. 1
    • While in recent times a last-minute deal has been struck, massive contentions between both political parties could create one side being unwilling to compromise.
      • While we continue to monitor this scenario, we encourage investors to not over-react to the fear mongering news cycle as the possible outcomes are too wide to predict with any significant confidence.
  • International equities underperformed US benchmarks last week as the US Dollar bucked its recent weak trend & bounced higher by 1.47%.1
    • Additionally, Chinese economic data threw a wet blanket on the short-term bullish case for them bouncing back and spilling over into the global economy.
      • Their consumer prices barely grew, producer prices remained deep in deflation, credit expansion fell far short of expectations, & manufacturing activity contracted and imports plunged. 1
      • Additionally, copper, a frequently used bellwether of Chinese economic health, declined over 4% last week and looks to be breaking down. 1
    • This all comes at a time when CCP leader Xi continues to crackdown on perceived threats to Chinese national security by now raiding the offices of foreign consultancy firms who help global investors understand China.
      • This is threatening the Chinese gov’ts attempts to lure foreign capital into China.

Ryan A. Mumy, CFP®,

AIF® – Chief Investment Officer

Contact: 828/855-9400 or 

 1 Source: Bloomberg – 5/12/2023 

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