Market week: Stocks post monthly gains
Investors digest surging tech earnings, positive economic data
The major North American stock indexes remained flat on the week, despite climbing to fresh highs during the week, with the S&P 500 Composite Index closing at a record high on Thursday. Investors digested blockbuster quarterly earnings results from the technology majors, including Amazon.com Inc. (NSD: AMZN), which reported first-quarter earnings of US$8.11 billion (US$15.79 per share), on sales of US$108.52 billion, for its highest-ever 12-month net income of US$26.9 billion.
The U.S. economy continued its recovery from the pandemic-induced slowdown, as gross domestic product grew at an annual 6.4% in the first quarter, boosted by the creation of 1.5 million jobs, a 21.1% increase in personal income in March, and an accompanying 4.2% jump in consume spending. In fact, the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index rose to 88.3 in April, while inflation posted a 1.8% annual increase. But the positive economic data was tempered somewhat by analysts’ concerns about rising taxes and the potential for an earlier-than-forecast tapering of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s ultra-easy monetary policy.
The S&P 500 Composite Index remained flat on the week, but gained 5.2% for the month, and rose 11.3% in the year to date. The Nasdaq Composite Index ticked down slightly on the week, but posted a 5.4% advance on the month, for an 8.3% year-to-date gain. Toronto’s S&P/TSX Composite Index was likewise flat on the week, gaining 2.2% on the month, for a 9.6% year-to-date advance. Crude oil continued gaining ground, up 2.3% on the week, 7.3% in the month, and 30.9% year to date. Gold, on the other hand, lost ground, slipping 0.5% on the week, for a 7.3% advance on the month, but an overall 6.7% year-to-date loss.
* SEI shuts down mutual fund. SEI Investments Canada announced on April 28 that it will terminate the SEI Conservative Fund as of June 29. SEI said its decision was driven by the fund’s low asset balance, making it difficult to efficiently manage the fund, and its similarity to SEI Income 20/80 Fund.
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