The last week saw U.S. stocks register their slowest trading week so far in 2016. A mixture of profit-taking combined with nervousness over corporate earnings appeared to have had a hand in the slowdown in U.S. equities last week.
Corporate earnings reports will continue to flow out this week and investors will be keeping a close eye as they are released. Investors will also be closely watching the sentiments of Federal Reserve officials as they meet this week. An Immediate move to raise interest rates is not expected at this week’s meeting, but the meeting should provide hints about the path to a rate review this year. However, the Fed can easily change its mind as it has done many times before. Following the release of encouraging U.S. economic data for the month of June, expectations have increased that the Fed will likely raise interest rate at least once this year.
Central banks in Europe and Asia have recently appeared to be taking a gradual move to easing policies, a sign that their assessment of the Brexit impact has improved. But this week investors will be looking at the outcome of the meeting of Bank of Japan officials, especially after the governor of the BoJ hinted that helicopter money, or direct financing of the government by the central bank, is not part of the easing consideration in Japan.
How the major indices performed
On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average 2 Minute (INDEXDJX:.DJI) gained 0.3% after adding 53.62 points to close at 18570.85. For the week, the Dow rose 0.3%, marking the first week that the gains of the blue-chip index was less than 1% since early June.
The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) rose 0.5% on Friday after adding 9.86 points to close at 2175.03, thus setting a new closing record. But the index only gained 0.6% in the week, less than the at least 1% gain it has posted in the last several weeks going back to early June as well.
The finance and technology sectors turned out to be the notable gainers in the S&P 500 in the week ending Friday. The technology component of the S&P 500 gained 2%, while finance stocks rose 0.7%. Those gains were largely driven by encouraging earnings reports.
The tech-weighted NASDAQ Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) 0.5% on Friday, reflecting a gain of 26.26 points that pushed the index up to 5100.16.