Week from 16 to 22 November 2020
Equity investors needed to breathe after two weeks of strong gain amid new business restrictions to control spiralling COVID-19 infections. US indices were mixed with the NASDAQ Composite edging up 0.22% and the S&P 500 edging down 0.77% though the latter had been briefly propelled above a key technical resistance level (3,580) Tuesday. The bullish move in US large cap stocks faded away on Wednesday. By contrast, small cap stocks continued their winning streak (Russell 2000 up 2.37%).
Among the S&P sectors, energy (+4.99%) was boosted by a smaller than expected build in weekly inventories. Oil prices therefore pushed higher for the third week in a row (WTI crude up 5.03%, well above $42 per barrel). Materials (+1.06%) and industrials (+1.05%) were also among the top gainers this week. Financials managed to stay in positive territory (+0.54%) though Berkshire Hathaway released data early this week showing the conglomerate had cut its exposure to Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase. All the other sectors were in the red, utilities (-3.92%), healthcare (-3%), real estate (-1.59%) and consumer staples (-1.45%, with retail sales missing economists forecast last month) being the biggest losers. Unsurprisingly, tech also performed poorly (-0.92%) as the Fab 5 traded lower (Facebook: -2.62%, Microsoft: -2.31%, Google: -1.96%, Apple: -1.61%, Amazon.com: -0.94%).
Once again, European indices outperformed their US peers (EUROSTOXX 50 up 1.02%, CAC 40 up 2.15%) in spite of lockdowns and restrictions on social gatherings. APAC markets fared well too, as strong economic data from Japan and China fueled optimism of a global recovery in Asia (Nikkei 225 and Shanghai Composite up 0.56% and 2.04% respectively).
On the interest rate front, the yield on the US 10-year T-note slid 6bps from +0.89% to +0.83% (-6bps WTD) while the German Bund on the same maturity finished the week at -0.58% (-3bps).
Demand for IG corporate bonds (+0.26% in Europe, +1.03% in the US) and high yield bonds (+0.63% in Europe, +0.59% in the US) increased. Similarly, demand for emerging debt showed no sign of abating (+1.14% in local currencies).
Elsewhere, gold fell -0.73% to $1,872.40/oz, while EUR/USD traded 0.28% higher at 1.1853.
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