Equity markets surged during the week. After posting its best monthly performance since October, the S&P 500 finished February at a record high, while the Nasdaq reclaimed the post-bubble apex lost during January. If some late-Friday volatility is any indication, however, heightened tensions in Ukraine may have investors on edge going forward.
Major equity markets delivered a mixed performance during the holiday shortened week, as economic data remained somewhat inconsistent while a robust fourth quarter earnings season neared its end. The DJIA and S&P 500 were down slightly, while the Nasdaq moved higher. Yield on the benchmark ten-year Treasury was flattish.
U.S. stock markets posted broad gains for the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, as investors shrugged off some disappointing economic reports. Yield on the benchmark ten-year Treasury yield drifted higher during the week, while volatility continued to pull back from its early February highs.
After a brutal Monday that saw major indexes shed more than 2%, a sharp two-day rally to close out the week pushed markets into the black for the five-day period. Yield on the benchmark ten-year Treasury ended a few basis points higher after falling to three-month lows early in the week, while market volatility declined after approaching a 52-week high.
Of the 251 S&P 500 companies that have reported fourth quarter results, 74% have beaten earnings expectations while 67% have beaten revenue expectations. The blended earnings growth rate for the fourth quarter now stands at 7.9%, according to FactSet, sharply higher than 6.3% forecast as of December 31. Visa, Facebook and AT&T impressed this week, while Amazon, Exxon Mobil and Yahoo were among the disappointments.