Stocks Popped Higher, Anyway

Central banks are hawkish. Stocks popped higher, anyway.

Last week, despite signs that inflation is slowing, U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) officials emphasized their commitment to tightening monetary policy to lower inflation. Several indicated they anticipate a third consecutive rate hike of 75 basis points, reported Craig Torres and Matthew Boesler of Bloomberg.

Investors seemed to disregard the Fed as U.S. stocks moved higher, snapping a three-week losing streak. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index finished the week up 3.6 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 2.7 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite rose 4.1 percent, reported Christine Idzelis and Joseph Adinolfi of MarketWatch.

The European Central Bank (ECB) announced a rate increase of 75 basis points and revised its expectations for inflation higher last week. The ECB emphasized that tightening will continue and more rate hikes are likely. European stocks rose following the ECB’s announcement, reported Karen Gilchrist and Katrina Bishop of CNBC.

Last week’s stock market gains were a bit confounding, especially when you consider the fact that money has been flowing out of global equities and bonds and into cash and investments that are perceived to be safe havens. The stock market’s performance may be the result of investors whose only option was to buy shares. Bloomberg’s Lu Wang and Isabelle Lee explained:

“In a week that saw discretionary buyers beat a quick retreat from risky assets, another set of traders stood up to halt a three-week plunge in the S&P 500: those with little choice but to buy. They included short sellers, whose rush to cover lifted stocks [that] they’re betting against to gains of more than twice the market’s. Options dealers were another bullish force after getting caught needing to boost hedges by buying stocks when they rise.”

Major U.S. stock indices moved higher last week, and U.S. Treasury yields moved higher across the yield curve.

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