Market Commentary for the Week: 17 (23- 27 April 2018)

The major benchmarks were flat to modestly lower for the week as investors reacted to the heaviest flow of earnings reports of the season, 168 of the companies in the S&P 500 Index, representing 42% of its market capitalization, were due to report first-quarter profits during the week. The initial move higher in U.S. Treasury yields came amid a slew of solid economic data. New home sales and consumer confidence rose more than expected, and unemployment claims touched their lowest level since 1969. Geopolitical tensions continued to ease as North Korea’s Kim Jong Un was reported to have said he would accept inspections from the International Atomic Energy Agency, while also undertaking the rare step of meeting with his South Korean counterpart on Friday and agreeing to pursue a peace treaty.

U.S. large-cap stocks were little changed on the week, but they experienced a slight pullback on Tuesday as investors balanced their optimism about strong first-quarter earnings and improving economic growth with worries about rising interest rates and skepticism about whether there can be better earnings or economic growth ahead.



U.S. stock benchmarks closed little changed Friday and booked modest losses for the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell less than 0.1%, to 24,311.19.

The S&P 500 index closed up 2.97 points to 2,670.91, a gain 0.1%. The small utilities and real estate sectors outperformed within the S&P 500, while the industrials segment performed worst.



The Nasdaq Composite Index inched up by 1.12 point to 7,119.80, virtually unchanged.



For the week, the Dow fell 0.6% and the Nasdaq lost 0.4%. The S&P closed down a mere 0.01%, however, that was enough for all three to post their first weekly decline of the past three.

U.S. oil prices settled 9 cents lower at $68.10 a barrel, leaving it down 0.4% for the week. Oil futures were mixed Friday, with their downside limited by market expectations the U.S. will abandon the Iran nuclear deal, leading the way for renewed sanctions on Tehran and the country’s energy exports.



Gold prices closed 0.4% higher at $1,323.40 an ounce but booked 1% weekly decline. Gold prices took back some ground after a two-session skid as financial markets assessed the merits of Korea peace efforts and the first reading of first-quarter GDP, which came in slightly better than expected.



Digital currencies traded higher Friday in New York, looking to erase losses from earlier in the week.The No. 1 virtual currency, bitcoin traded back above $9,000, consolidating above critical support between $8,500 and $9,000. Bitcoin futures finished the week on a winning note. The Cboe’s May contract finished up 0.6% at $9,150 and the CME Group Inc. April contract which settled Friday, closed at $9,231, up 4.2% on the day.



Ether climbed 1% to $642.00.