Markets were indeed a mixed bag this past week, with the Dow Industrials scoring a record and closing up 0.3% to 21,272. But the S&P 500 moved lower by the same percentage and the tech-heavy NASDAQ was negative by 1.6%. A sudden reversal of technology stocks on Friday sent shockwaves to holders of the headline names such as Facebook, Apple, Alphabet (Google), Netflix and Amazon.com and took the rest of the sector along with it. Technology shares were in the red by an average of 2.4% for the week. Given the rise in technology stocks over the past year, a pause was not only in the cards, but probably a long-term positive.
In all, half of the major market sectors were in the negative column, with consumer services not far behind tech with a nearly 2% fall off. On the plus side, financials and energy moved higher by 2.4% and 1.8%, respectively. Oil and gas stocks showed some strength despite crude oil falling to $45.83/bbl. as traders viewed the group as undervalued. Declining stocks edged out advancing issues on the NYSE by a small margin and the transports were virtually flat.
Markets shrugged off Congressional testimony by former FBI director James Comey and the election in the U.K., but investors still preferred safety on weaker-than-expected economic data. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury fell it its lowest level since November, but late selling in Treasuries managed the yield to close higher at 2.2%. Wednesday, the Federal Reserve is expected to raise the short-term interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point. All eyes will focus on any follow through in the tech reversal, but if Fed Chair Janet Yellen provides positive clues for a strengthening economy, stocks should continue to move higher.
Today’s Trivia Question: Delta Air Lines became the second largest air carrier by revenue and the largest by passengers carried with its 2008 acquisition of what airline? Northwest Airlines, Pan American World Airways, U.S. Airways or Trans World Airlines.