The S&P 500 index slipped by 0.2% last week as sharp daily gains and losses almost canceled each other out in a week that included the largest federal funds rate increase since 2000.
Last week’s move came as the market began May searching for direction following a tough April in which the S&P 500 fell by 8.8%. April’s loss marked the S&P 500’s third monthly decline out of the first four months of 2022; only March has had a gain so far last year. The S&P 500 is now down 13% for the year to date.
Over the first three days of the week, the S&P 500 climbed 4.1%. Much of that climb came Wednesday as the index jumped 3% amid signals from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that while the central bank’s policy-setting committee was raising its benchmark federal-funds rate by half a percentage point — the largest such increase since 2000 — it isn’t “actively considering” a larger increase for an upcoming meeting.
Still, the positive Wednesday reaction was wiped out Thursday as the S&P 500 slid 3.6% amid questions and concerns over the potential impacts of the higher rate environment. While upcoming rate increases may be smaller than previously feared, investors are still uneasy about rates rising as much as they are.
The S&P 500 continued to decline Friday, even as the Labor Department reported nonfarm payrolls rose by 428,000, more than the 380,000 jobs increase expected in a survey compiled by Bloomberg. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.6%, compared with a 3.5% rate expected, while the labor force participation rate fell to 62.2% from 62.4% in the previous month as the size of the labor force contracted.
By sector, real estate had the largest percentage drop of the week, down 3.8%, followed by a 3.4% drop in consumer discretionary and a 1.3% slip in consumer staples. Other decliners included technology, materials and health care, down by less than 1% each.
The energy sector had the largest percentage increase of the week as it jumped 10%, but the other sectors in the black were up by a much smaller amount: Utilities climbed 1.2%, communication services rose 1.1%, financials gained 0.6% and industrials edged up 0.3%.
This week’s earnings calendar features companies such as Tyson Foods (TSN), Simon Property Group (SPG), Hyatt Hotels (H), Wendy’s (WEN) and Walt Disney (DIS).
On the economic calendar, inflation data will be in focus, with the April consumer price index due Wednesday and the April producer price index due Thursday. Other data expected next week include March wholesale inventories on Monday and University of Michigan consumer sentiment for May on Friday.
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