Stock Market Report For Week Ended July 2, 2015
Stocks fall as Greece reaches tipping point
U.S. stocks followed global markets lower and endured a second week of declines after the debt crisis in Greece reached a tipping point. Most of the damage occurred on Monday, when the S&P 500 endured its largest one-day pullback since last October. Smaller-cap shares, which are typically more volatile, fell more than larger-cap stocks, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite also underperformed the blue chip benchmarks. The trading week ended on Thursday, in advance of the Independence Day holiday weekend.
Greece fails to make IMF debt payment
On Sunday, European officials stated that they would be offering no additional funds to Greece, signaling a final impasse in the recent round of negotiations. Greek officials responded by announcing a referendum on the European austerity demands, closing the nation's banks and stock market for at least a week, and instituting capital controls to prevent assets from leaving the country. Stocks fell sharply at the open of trading on Monday and continued their decline through much of the day. On Tuesday, Greece failed to make a scheduled payment to the International Monetary Fund, which raises the risk of missing a payment to the European Central Bank in about three weeks.
Market damage contained, but volatility rises
Given the worries that have long surrounded a Greek default, many observers were relieved that Monday's roughly 2% decline in the major indexes was not larger. However, T. Rowe Price traders note that the VIX index, a measure of market volatility, saw its biggest increase in two years. Trading volumes also surged, defying a recent pattern of relatively light activity.
Jobs increase but not earnings
Markets found their footing later in the week, despite the lack of any notable progress in the Greek situation. Favorable U.S. economic data on Wednesday appeared to boost sentiment, as measures of private payroll growth and manufacturing came in above expectations. The closely watched official monthly payrolls report on Thursday was somewhat less positive, however. While the economy added nearly as many jobs as expected in June, hourly earnings were unchanged. This was especially discouraging since a solid rise in May earnings had raised hopes that the tightening labor market was finally stimulating meaningful wage growth.
Job market still likely to support stronger consumer spending
Many observers also noted that the labor force participation rate reached nearly a four-decade low, suggesting that discouraged workers are continuing to give up on finding a job. T. Rowe Price Chief U.S. Economist Alan Levenson observed that this detail deserves even further qualification, however. An early employment survey probably missed many teen summer workers who will show up in the July count, and measures of underemployment, such as the number of part-time workers who would prefer a full-time job, actually improved. Generally, he believes the foundation remains intact for improved incomes and consumer spending.