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Stock Market Report For Week Ended June 16, 2017

NASDAQ UNDERPERFORMS FOR SECOND WEEK

The major indexes ended mixed for the week. Smaller shares underperformed, but the S&P MidCap 400 Index reached a new high early in the week before falling back. The Nasdaq Composite Index fared poorly for the second consecutive week as the market continued to feel the ripple effects of the sell-off in mega-cap technology shares the previous Friday.

FAANG STOCKS REMAIN VOLATILE

The week began on an active note, as the sell-off in tech-related stocks continued into Monday morning. Buyers returned in the afternoon, however, helping the FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Alphabet’s Google) stocks recover some of their losses. FAANG shares, which together represent well over $2 trillion in market capitalization, continued to recover through Wednesday before selling off again on Thursday—a move that T. Rowe Price traders attributed to investors trying to lock in profits. Much of the money rotated into defensive segments, they noted. Amazon enjoyed another bounce Friday, following the surprise announcement that it was acquiring Whole Foods Market for over $13 billion, while the news sent the shares of other food retailers sharply lower.

Although the FAANG sell-off captured attention, the firm’s traders noted that the market had generally entered summer mode, with earnings season a month away and equity investors on vacation or otherwise less engaged. Bond investors had more to pay attention to in the form of important economic reports and the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to a new postelection low on Wednesday as inflation came in weaker than expected for the third month in a row. Retail sales also surprised to the downside.

FED RAISES RATES AS EXPECTED

While other economic data have also raised warnings signals in recent weeks, the Fed raised rates as expected and maintained its projection for another rate hike in 2017. Fed officials also outlined their plans to begin unwinding the central bank's $4.5 trillion balance sheet, a legacy of its massive purchases of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Some investors may have interpreted the Fed’s unwillingness to delay a rate increase due to falling inflation as hawkish, and Treasury yields partially retraced some of their Wednesday decline when trading resumed Thursday.

Treasury prices rose alongside the decline in yields, but the municipal market was essentially flat for the week. Investor activity was light given generally rich muni valuations. Investment-grade corporate bond new issuance faded as the week progressed, which contributed to positive performance, along with low dealer inventories. Investors in Asia continued to be active buyers, helping to support demand for longer-duration credits.

Broad risk-on sentiment was supportive for the high yield market. However, volumes were subdued ahead of the Fed's announcement. The move lower in oil led to weakness among riskier energy credits. The market traded modestly higher following the central bank's rate decision, and exchange-traded funds reported positive flows for the week. 

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