From the Wall Street Journal’s “Stock Futures Waver After S&P 500 Hits Record” posted early Friday:
The major indexes are hovering close to all-time highs, leaving investors looking for any catalysts that may propel the next leg in what has been a sharp rally since the March 2020 rout. Fresh spending plans by the Biden administration that could result in higher taxes, as well as stocks’ high valuations and the emergence of new Covid-19 variants, are making people more cautious. Money managers are also weighing whether the rise in inflation is likely to be transitory.
“We’re still positive on the outlook, but we’re not as optimistic as we were three months ago,” said Daniel Morris, chief market strategist at BNP Paribas Asset Management. “The market needs to take a breather and let earnings catch up to where prices are.”
The Labor Department on Thursday said the U.S. economic rebound is driving the biggest surge in inflation in nearly 13 years, with consumer prices rising in May by 5% from a year ago. Investors have been concerned for some weeks that a sharp and sustained rise in inflation may prompt the Fed to weigh ending its easy money policies in coming quarters. More recently, the market’s inflation expectations have abated, but it remains a focus point for many people.
“Inflation clearly is the big risk out there,” said Edward Park, chief investment officer at U.K. investment firm Brooks Macdonald. “Some of the teeth have been softened over the last 24 hours, but there is still the risk that the Fed comes out and says maybe this is more sustained, and that changes the narrative, so central banks are still very much a thing to watch.”
My take: Still range-bound and sideways.