US Stocks Witness Solid Weekly Gains Amid Moderate Inflation Data
July 16, 2023
Stocks displayed mixed results on Friday but registered notable gains for the week, bolstered by unexpectedly moderate U.S. inflation data that sparked speculation about a possible end to the Federal Reserve’s trend of interest rate hikes. The more modest than anticipated increase in June consumer prices and producer prices have made investors rethink the potential for a robust economy to propel stocks upwards by year’s end.
Earnings Season’s Opening and Investor Expectations
The beginning of the earnings season on Friday featured reports from several major banks. However, “investor expectations for this season are generally pessimistic.” The analyst consensus predicts a 7% year-over-year decrease in S&P 500 earnings.
Weekly Performance of Market Benchmarks
All three stock market benchmarks – Dow Jones, Nasdaq and the S&P – experienced an increase over the week. Dow Jones and Nasdaq recorded their most substantial weekly percentage gains since March, with a 2.3% and 3.3% rise respectively. The S&P registered a 2.4% increase, marking its largest weekly gain since mid-June.
The weekly performance of the market was bolstered by gains in heavyweight growth sectors like Communication Services, Consumer Discretionary, and Technology. The latter continued its remarkable run this year, with significant developments among some megacap names making headlines.
Key Developments Among Megacap Names
Amazon’s (AMZN) Prime Day shopping event established a sales record, and Alphabet’s (GOOG) (GOOGL) Google unit expanded its artificial intelligence chatbot, Bard, to Europe and Brazil. However, perhaps the most noteworthy and widely observed development was Microsoft’s (MSFT) planned $69B acquisition of videogame publisher Activision Blizzard (ATVI).
Progress in Microsoft’s Acquisition of Activision Blizzard
In a significant triumph for both parties, a U.S. federal judge dismissed the Federal Trade Commission’s plea to provisionally obstruct the megadeal on Thursday. Subsequently, on Friday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals turned down the request from the antitrust regulator. After rumors circulated this week that Microsoft (MSFT) and Activision (ATVI) were considering selling some of their cloud-gaming rights in the UK, a UK appeals court has now set Monday as the date for a hearing on the deal.