The S&P 500 index rose 0.7% last week to yet another fresh record closing high as the materials, consumer staples and financial sectors led a broad advance. The index edged down Monday but resumed setting new record closing highs last week in each of the four sessions that followed.
The gains came as the remaining Q2 earnings reports continued to roll in largely above expectations, while economic data also provided signs that the US economic recovery has persisted despite climbing COVID-19 cases in recent weeks fueled by the Delta variant.
The materials sector had the largest percentage increase of the week, up 2.7%, followed by a 2.1% increase in consumer staples and a 1.9% rise in financials. Other sectors up by more than 1% each included utilities and industrials. Only one sector was in the red for the week: Energy, which slipped 0.8%.
Next week, while the regular earnings season is winding down, a number of retailers on a fiscal calendar are set to release their latest quarterly results. These include Home Depot (HD), Walmart (WMT), Target (TGT) and Macy’s (M).
Retail sales for July also will be featured on the economic data calendar next Tuesday, along with July industrial production and capacity utilization. Other economic reports due next week include July building permits and housing starts on Wednesday. Investors will also be focused on the release of Federal Open Market Committee minutes on Wednesday.
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