The U.S. market hit a record high last week, surpassing its pre-COVID high set in late February. Tech stocks once again outperformed as Apple’s market capitalisation hit the $2 trillion mark. Euro weakness enhanced returns for Irish investors, in a reversal of the trend seen in recent weeks. U.S. markets did dip slightly following the release of the latest minutes from the Fed FOMC, which were perceived to strike a cautionary tone. ‘High frequency’ data, such as weekly U.S. jobs claims suggest a slowing of momentum for the recovery, but leading indicators did rise again in July for the second straight month, albeit at a slower pace. The U.S. housing market continues to show strength. On the back of supportive borrowing rates, confidence amongst homebuilders in August equalled a record high as existing home sales rose 24.7% (per annum) in July.
Within the eurozone, bond prices rose and stocks faltered as the pace of the recovery stumbled slightly. The manufacturing PMI was stable at 51.7, with the equivalent reading for services falling back to 50.1, still just in expansion territory. U.K. PMIs were more encouraging with the services figure showing the strongest reading since 2013. However, Brexit headwinds are gathering as negotiations continue to move at a glacial pace.
A number of eurozone countries see COVID cases on the rise once again. On Sunday, France reported its highest one day jump since April and new U.K. cases stayed above 1,000 for the fourth consecutive day. In the U.S., the FDA granted emergency approval for a blood plasma treatment as President Trump seeks similar approval for the vaccine under development from AstraZeneca Plc and the University of Oxford. CLICK HERE