Stock prices inched higher last week amid declining COVID-19 cases, a pick-up in vaccinations, and progress on a fiscal relief bill.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.00%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 rose 1.23%. The Nasdaq Composite index climbed 1.73% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, added 1.80%.1,2,3
Stocks Post Gains
Stocks powered higher to begin the week, buoyed by rising confidence in economic recovery and the potential for another round of fiscal stimulus. Small cap stocks continued their 2021 rally as investors looked for out-of-favor names that might benefit from an economic rebound.
Stocks traded in a tight range through the remainder of the week. Investors appeared to digest current stock price valuations, wondering if the market had already “priced in” the optimism of a rebounding economy.
On Wednesday, Fed Chair Powell gave assurances that the Fed’s rate policy would remain unchanged for the foreseeable future. Some fear that inflation may pick up with broader reopenings and additional fiscal stimulus.4
On Thursday and Friday, stocks drifted mostly higher in quiet trading, managing to set some new all-time highs.5
Economic Expectations Rising
A survey by The Wall Street Journal showed increasing optimism among economists about economic growth for this year.6
This Week: Key Economic Data
Wednesday: Retail Sales. Industrial Production. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) Minutes.
This Week: Companies Reporting Earnings
Tuesday: CVS Health Corp. (CVS), Agilent Technologies (A), Palantir Technologies, Inc. (PLTR).
Owe the IRS Money? Here’s How to Pay
If you owe federal taxes, you are required to pay by the April deadline. Remember, if you get an extension to file your taxes, payment is still due by the April deadline. If you can’t pay the full amount that you owe now, you may be able to set up a payment plan.
Here are some choices for making your payment:
* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.
Tip adapted from IRS.gov7
Two fathers and two sons went truffle hunting. Each found a truffle yet they found only three in all. Why?
Last week’s riddle: Six cups are lined up in a row. Cups 1-3 on the left are full of juice; cups 4-6 on the right are empty. How can you arrange this row so empty and full glasses alternate while moving only one cup in the process? Answer: Pour the juice from the second cup into the fifth cup.
Footnotes and Sources
2. The Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2021
3. The Wall Street Journal, February 12, 2021
4. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, February 19, 2021
5. CNBC.com, February 12, 2021
6. The Wall Street Journal, February 11, 2021
7. IRS.gov, June 5, 2020
8. Healthline.com, July 24, 2018
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