The S&P 500 index fell 0.6% last week, snapping a two-week winning streak, amid concerns about the economic recovery and when the Fed will begin slowing down its bond-buying program.
However, the S&P 500 is still in positive territory for the month, up 1.1% for August so far.
Last week’s decline, which marked the S&P 500’s first weekly drop this month, came as investors grew more concerned about rising COVID-19 cases just as the Federal Reserve appears to be preparing for a slowdown of its bond-buying program. Minutes released Wednesday from the late-July meeting of the US central bank’s policy-setting committee indicated its members are looking to possibly begin to slow down purchases of mortgage-backed securities this year.
The commodities-focused sectors were hit the hardest last week as futures of some raw materials including crude oil and copper fell amid strengthening in the US dollar. A stronger dollar typically pressures US-denominated commodities as it makes them more expensive for holders of other currencies.
The energy sector had the largest percentage drop of the week, down 7.3%, followed by a 3.1% slide in materials. Other significant decliners included industrials and financials, down 2.3% each, and consumer discretionary, down 2.2%. Communication services edged down 0.4%.
Still, five sectors managed to buck the declines, led by gains of 1.8% each in health care and utilities. The other sectors in the black for the week included real estate, up 0.5%, as well as consumer staples and technology, up 0.4% each.
Next week’s slate of economic data will feature revised second quarter gross domestic product, due Thursday, and the core personal consumption expenditures price index for July, due Friday. Among the reports expected earlier in the week, Markit will release its August readings on the manufacturing and services sectors on Monday. Monday will also feature July existing home sales, followed by the Tuesday release of July new home sales. July durable goods orders are due Wednesday.
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