Stocks posted small declines last week as investors digested recent stock market gains and an unexpectedly high inflation read.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.63%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 retreated 0.31%. The Nasdaq Composite index slipped 0.69% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, dropped 0.78%.1
Market Takes a Pause
After moving higher on Congressional approval of a $1 trillion-plus infrastructure spending bill, stocks drifted lower as investors took a breather after a weeks-long run-up in prices. A high October inflation report on Wednesday sent bond yields higher and stock prices lower, especially technology and other high growth companies. Energy also fell.4,5
Higher-than-expected inflation elevated investor worries that the Fed may be forced to accelerate its bond tapering schedule and hike interest rates sooner than planned. Stocks found firmer footing following the inflation-related sell-off, closing the week on a strong note, though it wasn’t sufficient to keep stocks from ending the week in the red.
Hot! Hot! Hot!
Rising prices appear to be showing no signs of moderating. The first reading on inflation was Tuesday’s release of the Producer Price Index, which saw wholesale prices rise 0.6% in October and register an 8.6% increase from 12-months ago.4
A day later the Consumer Price Index came in above consensus estimates, with prices climbing 0.9% from September 2021 and increasing 6.2% year-over-year. The 12-month increase was the sharpest such rise since 1990. The 12-month core inflation rate (excludes the more volatile food and energy sectors) was 4.6%, the fastest pace since 1991.5
1. The Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2021