PAS Weekly Commentary

Bull Market Grows Legs as Participation Widens

Each of the large-cap indices rose more than 1.0% in this news-heavy week, with the S&P 500 (+1.4%), Dow Jones Industrial Average (+1.2%), and Nasdaq 100 (+1.4%) hitting new all-time highs. The Nasdaq Composite increased 1.1%, and the small-cap Russell 2000 increased 0.9%.

Gains were logged across ten of the 11 S&P 500 sectors, including the utilities (+3.7%), materials (+3.2%), and health care (+2.9%) sectors with the biggest gains. The communication services sector (-0.01%) was the lone holdout amid softness in its top-weighted components.

Briefly highlighting the key events, the big banks reported better-than-expected Q1 earnings reports and issued upbeat commentary, core CPI for March was muted on a year-over-year basis at 1.6%, retail sales surged 9.8% m/m in March ( consensus +5.3%), Coinbase (COIN) became a public company, and federal agencies recommended a pause in Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) vaccine.

There were a lot of narratives surrounding these events, but the takeaway for the market was that the good news was good, and the bad news wasn't bad enough to detract from the good news. To illustrate, the JNJ vaccine news was disappointing, but the alternatives are plentiful. Coinbase struggled after its open, signaling buyer exhaustion, but ARK Invest's Cathie Woods scooped up shares.

The market simply showed no quit and respected the bullish trend (particularly in the S&P 500) despite calls for a pullback/consolidation.

In the background, the Fed did what the Fed has done: make sure markets know that it will keep monetary policy accommodative, even as the economy and labor market continue to rebound. Fed Chair Powell added that once substantial progress on its employment and inflation goals has been reached, it will start to taper asset purchases well before it raises interest rates.

The one surprising thing from this week was that long-term interest rates accelerated their monthly downtrend despite strong economic data. The 10-yr yield declined ten basis points to 1.57%, including an 11-bps drop in one day, in a move fueled by short-covering activity.

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Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and one cannot invest directly in an index. Diversification does not guarantee investment returns and does not eliminate the risk of loss.

Data and rates used were indicative of market conditions as of the date shown and compiled by Opinions, estimates, forecasts, and statements of financial market trends are based on current market conditions and are subject to change without notice. References to specific securities, asset classes and financial markets are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute a solicitation, offer, or recommendation to purchase or sell a security. S&P 500 Index is a market index generally considered representative of the stock market as a whole. The index focuses on the large-cap segment of the U.S. equities market. Each company’s security affects the index in proportion to its market value. NASDAQ Composite Index is a market value-weighted index that measures all NASDAQ domestic and non-U.S. based common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock market. Dow Jones Industrial Average is a widely used indicator of the overall condition of the stock market, a price-weighted average of 30 actively traded blue chip stocks, primarily industrials, but also includes financial, leisure and other service-oriented firms. Russell 2000 Index measures the performance of the smallest 2,000 companies in the Russell 3000 Index of the 3,000 largest U.S. companies in terms of market capitalization. MSCI Emerging Markets Index is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure equity market performance of emerging markets.

Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS) is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian). PAS is a registered broker/dealer offering competitive investment products, as well as a registered investment advisor offering financial planning and investment advisory services. PAS is a member of FINRA and SIPC.

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2021-119896 (Exp 7/21)