Weekly Commentary (04/05/21) – Markets Advance on Massive Infrastructure Plan

April 5, 2021

Equity markets closed near all-time highs last week as investors cheered President Biden’s $2 trillion (yes, trillion) infrastructure plan along with another round of stimulus money.

For the week, the DJIA advanced 0.24% while the S&P 500 gained 1.14%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq jumped 2.60%. International markets were strong as the MSCI EAFE index (developed markets) closed higher by 0.53% while emerging market equities (MSCI EM) jumped higher by 2.40%. Small company stocks, represented by the Russell 2000, finished ahead by 1.46% for the week. Fixed income, represented by the Bloomberg/Barclays Aggregate, finished the week lower as the yield curve continued to steepen. As a result, the 10 YR US Treasury closed at a yield of 1.69% (up ~6 bps from the previous week’s closing yield of ~1.63%). Gold prices closed at $1,726.50/oz – down 0.33% on the week. Oil prices closed at $61.45/bbl (up 0.79% on the week).

Economic news released last week was mixed, but the big news came on Friday when the Labor Department reported that 916,000 jobs were added in March – far surpassing estimates for a gain of 647,000 jobs. The strong jobs report will likely boost equity markets in the short-term. Economic releases in the week ahead include Durable Goods, JOLTS job openings and Producer Price Index (PPI).

Economic and market fundamentals remain quite reasonable, and the news on the vaccine front continues to be encouraging. Markets will likely turn their attention to the details of the massive infrastructure plan and how the Biden administration plans to pay for the plan. Of course, the burden will fall to taxpayers, and the first proposed major tax increase announced by the Biden team pushes corporate taxes up 33% – from 21% to 28%.

We suggest investors stay close to their long-term target asset allocations (stay underweight fixed income and be market weighted to slightly higher-than market weight in equities). Let’s make it a good week!

“Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.” – John Wooden