The US stock markets were mixed last week, with the Dow (+0.9%), NASDAQ (-0.1%), and S&P 500 (+0.7%). As a result of that gain, the S&P 500 posted its 48th record high for 2021. Taxable bonds were roughly flat, while tax free municipal bonds suffered their first back to back weekly loss since June, shedding about 0.4% for the week.
Earnings season has almost concluded and according to Factset, 87% of the S&P 500 companies exceeded analysts’ expectations. This is the highest percentage of companies beating earnings estimates since the data began being tracked in 2008. According to the University of Michigan’s monthly survey, U.S. Consumer confidence declined sharply and reached a 10-year low. This is following fears that the COVID Delta variant may be spreading further than anticipated. In world news over the weekend, the government of Afghanistan has crumbled within a week of the removal of US troops, as the Taliban has taken control of the country. As a result, stock markets have dropped worldwide about 1%. The long term impact of this geopolitical tension and the short term impact to markets are certainly unknown at this time.
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