Charles-Henry Monchau

Chief Investment Officer



WEEKLY SUMMARY: Hawkish central banks hammer stocks

Intensified fears over rising interest rates pushed the S&P 500 Index lower for a 2nd consecutive week and to levels last seen in early November. Nearly every sector within the index recorded sharp losses with the exception of energy shares, which were supported by a rebound in oil prices. A roughly USD 4 trillion expiration in options contracts on Friday sparked additional volatility. Two announcements during the week sent sentiment in opposite directions—much higher at the start of the week and sharply lower at its end. The first was the release of the US CPI on Tuesday. The data showed that headline inflation rose only 0.1% in November from October, a tick lower than consensus. The second, which was the release of the FOMC December policy meeting statement on Wednesday, sent stocks sharply lower. While the Fed slowed its pace of rate increases by announcing a 50 basis points increase, the official statement reiterated that ongoing rate increases are likely. Similar rate moves and commentary from European central banks on Thursday seemed to have further darkened investors’ moods. The other notable surprise of the week may have been Thursday’s data on retail sales, which dropped 0.6% in November, much lower than expected. While stocks pulled back on the week, U.S. Treasury yields decreased, especially on the front-end. In Asia, Chinese stocks fell as weaker-than-expected economic data dampened investor sentiment. The dollar is unchanged for the week. Bitcoin is trading below $17k again.


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