Week In Perspective: In a messy week of trading, the S&P 500 finds technical support [26-Mar-21]

Updated: 26-Mar-21

A weekly recap of market activity and events, featuring commentary, analysis written with individual investors in mind.

Week in perspective provided by Briefing.com. Briefing.com offers live market analysis on their web site www.Briefing.com

The S&P 500 went through some mild swings this week with technical and quarter-end rebalancing factors in effect, but it ultimately ended with a 1.6% gain. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (+1.4%) also closed higher, while the Nasdaq Composite (-0.6%) and Russell 2000 (-2.9%) lost ground.  

That's not to downplay the week's news flow because there was a lot of noteworthy events, but the market just didn't want to fit into a clean narrative. The 10-yr yield declined seven basis points to 1.66%, but the mega-caps within the consumer discretionary (-0.2%) and communication services (-1.9%) sectors still underperformed. 

One day, the market was rallying on positive-sounding macro news, but it sold off into the close for no apparent reason. The one constant was that the S&P 500's 50-day moving average (3874) proved once again to be a strong measure of support, as it has over the past 11 months. After the benchmark index slipped below it on Thursday, buyers stepped in and followed through over the remainder of the week. All of the S&P 500's weekly gain came on Friday.

Nine of the 11 S&P 500 sectors contributed to the advance, and eight rose at least 2.0%, including the real estate sector with a 4.2% gain. The top-weighted information technology sector gained 2.5%. 

Reviewing some of the week's positive-sounding news:

  • President Biden will announce an infrastructure plan next week (reportedly with a price tag of up to $4 trillion).
  • Weekly initial claims declined by 97,000 to 684,000 (Briefing.com consensus 710,000) for its lowest level since last March.
  • More states said they will expand vaccine eligibility.
  • Intel (INTC) announced plans to invest $20 billion to build two semiconductor manufacturing facilities in Arizona.
  • The eurozone reported stronger-than-expected flash March Manufacturing PMIs.

In other developments, Fed Chair Powell and Treasury Secretary Yellen testified before Congress on the CARES Act in a non-event for the market. AstraZeneca's (AZN) encouraging U.S. vaccine trial data was questioned by an independent panel, but the company confirmed its vaccine was 76% effective against symptomatic COVID-19. 


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