Weekly Market Update: Insights from TIAA-CREF Professionals – U.S. equities surge to record highs amid deluge of data

William Riegel, Head of Equity Investments
Lisa Black, Head of Global Public Fixed-Income Markets

August 2, 2013

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Major U.S. equity indexes reached all-time highs during the past week, with the S&P 500 Index closing above the 1,700 threshold for the first time. Favorable economic data — particularly in housing, manufacturing and consumer spending — all pointed to continued steady but moderate growth, lifting U.S. equities to their record levels.

The U.S. market also benefited from a relatively strong second-quarter earnings season, as 69% of S&P 500 companies reporting so far have exceeded consensus expectations by an average of 3.2%. Healthy returns in non-U.S. markets were led by Europe (+1.1% for the week through August 1), while Japan (-1.4%) and the emerging markets (-0.7%) lagged, based on MSCI indexes.

Article Highlights

  • Major U.S. equity indexes hit all-time highs, shrugging off muted jobs report.
  • Treasuries take a bumpy ride thanks to conflicting economic headlines and a focus on Fed comments.
  • Advance GDP estimate for Q2 is above consensus, while prior-quarter revisions are mixed.
  • Economic and market performance improves in Europe and Japan, with China a question mark.
  • We continue to expect a modest pace of Fed tapering that avoids a severe interest-rate shock.

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