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Week Ending March 25 Financial Markets Update

The S&P 500 Index returned 1.81% last week marking a second straight week of gains and is currently showing March in positive territory with a 3.98% return. The index has gained 9.02% since hitting its 2022 closing low on March 8, though it is still down -4.35% for the year. The energy sector once again was the best performing sector of the week returning 7.42% as crude oil closed at $113.90 per barrel on Friday. The ban on Russian oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal imports by the U.S. and other countries over the war in Ukraine has impacted global energy markets. Though crude oil prices had gained over 20% prior to the Russian invasion, prices are up a similar amount since the February 24th invasion, boosting energy stocks and helping the sector.

U.S. Treasury bond yields rose substantially across the yield curve last week. Early in the week, Federal Reserve Chairman Powell indicated the Fed is open to increasing the federal-funds rate by 50 basis point increments and surpassing the estimated policy neutral rate set by the Fed, if necessary to tamp down inflation. After the perceived hawkish commentary by Chairman Powell, the money markets priced in roughly a 70% chance of a 50-basis point increase the federal-funds rate in the May meeting. This caused a sharp decrease in Treasury bond prices, pushing Treasury yields up. Notably, two-year and ten-year Treasury yields reached their highest levels since 2019, while the five- and thirty-year yield curve contracted near inversion.
The interpretations and organizations of these ideas are the confidential thoughts of 1st & Main Investment Advisors and do not represent the opinions of BFCFSDifferent types of investments involve varying degrees of risk including market fluctuation and possible loss of principal value. There can be no assurance that any specific investment strategy will be profitable. *some content provided by First Trust Portfolios L.P.  Member SIPC and FINR

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