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Markets Have Second Week of Gains, Rates Hit New Highs
Key Takeaways
  • The S&P 500 closed at 4,542.06 down from 4,462.12 last Friday. The VIX closed below $21.
  • President Biden visited NATO allies in Europe this week as the war in Ukraine raged on. NATO estimates up to 15,000 Russian Soldiers have been killed in Ukraine.
  • The price of oil and Energy stocks rallied on Friday as Houthi Rebels from Yemen launched a successful attack on a Saudi Aramco oil facility.
  • The market is in the midst of a tumultuous second half but there are increasing signals of optimism building. Volatility could remain elevated in short-term.

After last week’s “face ripping” rally many may have expected a period of consolidation given the events transpiring in Europe and an increasingly hawkish tone out of the Federal Reserve. Instead, markets built on the gains solidly. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were both up almost 2% on the week. Encouragingly, Energy and Technology were both the leading sectors and were both up about 4.2%. Apple was a notable outperformer this week and was up more than 6%. We just highlighted the stock in our recent Signal From Noise on stocks we like with pricing power.
There is a Ukrainian idiom for teaching someone a lesson in a profound or threatening way. As the Ukrainians say, they have really shown the battered Russian army where the crayfish is wintering. According to NATO estimates, from 7,000 to 15,000 Russian soldiers may have been killed in the conflict although the fog of war makes preciseness impossible. Incredibly, the resistance in Mariupol is still hanging on despite an onslaught against the urban center the likes of which have not been seen in Europe for generations. The Ukrainian destruction of a Russian landing craft this week may also make them hesitant to conduct further amphibious operations. Ukrainians have been pushing the Russians back around Kyiv.

Unfortunately for markets, the war does appear to be grinding into a stalemate. While we, like much of the world, are hopeful for as quick a peaceful resolution as is humanly possible, both Ukrainian and Russian negotiators appear to be taking maximalist positions that don’t bode well for the prospect of compromise. Surely, Ukrainians are not in the mood to give up large swaths of their country to a belligerent that they appear to be turning the military tide against. Vladimir Putin, while enigmatic in many ways, doesn’t seem like the type of guy who is willing to humble himself and his country’s martial reputation unless he absolutely has to. This is why the prospect of continued escalation by the Russians in continuing to level cities and potentially even the use of weapons of mass of destruction is uncomfortably high.

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