US stocks ended the holiday-shortened week on a strong note, with tech shares leading the rally. Investors once again started buying tech stocks on the easing of bond yields from their recent highs. The 10-year Treasury yield slipped 7 basis points to about 1.68% on Thursday, after hitting a 14-month high of around 1.77% in the previous week.
The S&P 500 index surged past the 4,000 mark for the first time on Thursday, with stocks adding gains to a solid performance in March. Markets were buoyed by President Joe Biden unveiling his massive infrastructure plan, which includes approximately $2 trillion in spending. There was some concern, however, around the hike in the corporate tax rate to 28% to finance the plan.
The US Labor Department released strong jobs data for March on Friday, with 916,000 jobs additions versus a revised 468,000 gain in February. The US unemployment rate eased to 6% in March, from 6.2% in the earlier month.
Performance of US Indices
US stocks recorded sharp gains on Thursday and markets remained closed on Friday for the Good Friday holiday. US manufacturing activity surged to the highest level since December 1983, with the index climbing to 64.7 in March, from 60.8 in February. Investors shrugged off the downbeat reading on weekly jobless claims, with initial claims rising to 719,000 for the week ended March 27, higher than the consensus estimates of 675,000.
The Dow Jones jumped 171.66 points to close at 33,153.21 on Thursday, while the S&P 500 surged 1.2% to a new record close of 4,019.87 and the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite surged 1.8% to settle at 13,480.11. The Dow and S&P 500 added 6.6% and 4.3%, respectively, in March, recording their best month since November 2020. The Nasdaq recorded a monthly gain of just 0.4%.
Top US Stocks of the Week
Shares of Nomura Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: NMR) fell around 14% on Monday after the bank warned of booking a massive loss due to a hedge fund defaulting on margin calls. The stock retreated around 19% during the week.
Credit Suisse Group AG’s (NYSE: CS) shares lost around 12% on Monday, with the company projecting significant losses due to a hedge fund defaulting on margin calls. The stock tumbled 19% during the 5-day period.
Shares of Conn’s, Inc. (NASDAQ: CONN) climbed over 24% on Wednesday, after the company reported better-than-expected quarterly results. The stock gained a whopping 42% in the week.
Chewy, Inc’s (NYSE: CHWY) shares rose more than 5% on Wednesday, following upbeat quarterly earnings.
Micron Technology, Inc’s (NASDAQ: MU) shares gained around 5% on Thursday after the company posted upbeat Q2 results and issued strong guidance for the current quarter. The stock added around 10% in the previous 5-day period.
Shares of Guess?, Inc. (NYSE:GES) climbed around 5% on Thursday, after the company reported better-than-expected earnings for its fourth quarter.
Performance of European Indices
European stocks ended higher on Thursday, following the release of strong economic data from the region. Eurozone manufacturing activity grew at the strongest pace in history in March, with the region’s IHS Markit’s manufacturing PMI climbing to 62.5 in March, from February’s reading of 57.9. The surge was led by Germany, which recorded a reading of 66.6 for March.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 rose 0.6% on Thursday, with technology stocks adding 2%. The European index gained more than 2% during the five-day period. London’s FTSE 100 index closed higher by 0.4% on Thursday, while the German DAX 30 and French CAC 40 added 0.66% and 0.59%, respectively.
Top European Stocks of the Week
Cellnex Telecom’s shares rose around 5% on Monday, after Singapore wealth fund GIC announced plans to acquire a 2.5% stake in the company.
Shares of Siemens Gamesa rose around 6% on Tuesday, after the firm announced a deal with Repsol for the installation of wind farms in Spain.
Deliveroo’s shares plummeted around 30% on its first day of trading on Wednesday. However, the stock ended lower by around 26% that day.
Shares of Prosus rose around 5% on Thursday after the Dutch internet group lifted its stake in German firm Delivery Hero.
The Forex Market
The British pound started the week on a low note. The GBP/USD traded close to a 7-week low of $1.367 but recovered sharply later to record a 0.8% gain during the first three months of 2021. The UK reported an improvement in its manufacturing PMI to 58.9 in March, from 55.1 in February. The latest reading exceeded market expectations of 57.9. The GBP/USD forex pair added around 0.3% last week.
The euro fell to its lowest level in around five months last week, with investors worrying about the rising covid-19 cases across the region and delays in the vaccine rollout. The EUR/USD lost 0.3% last week.
The Crypto Market
Bitcoin continued its upward movement last week, topping the $59,000 level after PayPal announced plans to allow its US consumers to use their cryptocurrency holdings to make payment to millions of its online merchants.