The S&P 500 index rose 2.6% last week and reached fresh 52-week highs amid stronger-than-expected retail sales and as Federal Reserve officials opted not to raise interest rates for the first time in 11 policy meetings. The index is now up 15% this year.
Last week’s advance came as economic data continued to come in above expectations, including a report showing US retail sales unexpectedly rose on a monthly basis in May, led by motor vehicles and building materials.
Investors also got a boost when the Federal Open Market Committee, which had raised rates for 10 consecutive meetings through May, chose to keep rates steady at its June meeting that ended on Wednesday. This is expected to represent a pause in rate increases rather than the end of them, but investors were relieved to see rates hold steady for the first time in several meetings.
By sector, technology had the largest percentage increase of the week, climbing 4.4%, followed by a 3.3% rise in materials and a 3.2% increase in consumer discretionary, among other gainers. Only one sector was in the red: Energy shed 0.7%.
This week is a shortened week as the US stock market was closed yesterday for the Juneteenth holiday. Today, May housing starts will be reported. May existing home sales will be released on Thursday along with leading economic indicators. June readings on the services and manufacturing sectors from Standard & Poor’s will come on Friday.
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