US equities post mixed results as investors eye stimulus, economic data

NEW YORK (XINHUA) – United States (US) equities posted mixed results in the holiday-abbreviated week as investors assessed the possibility of further fiscal stimulus, while sifting through a slew of economic data.

For the week ending Friday, the Dow rose 0.1 per cent, the S&P 500 fell 0.7 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite slid 1.6 per cent. US markets were closed on Monday in observance of Presidents’ Day.

The S&P US Listed China 50 index, which is designed to track the performance of the 50 largest Chinese companies listed on US exchanges by total market cap, logged a weekly decline of 0.34 per cent.

“Leadership shifts frequently in the equity markets. Sometimes growth outperforms value, sometimes small beats large,” CEO at Zacks Investment Management Mitch Zacks said in a note.

“Instead of getting caught up in short-term, emotional decisions, I recommend maintaining a diversified portfolio and focusing on key data points that can positively impact your investments in the long term,” he said.

The likelihood of additional US COVID-19 relief continued to be a focus on Wall Street. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Thursday that a large stimulus package was necessary to get the economy, which she said was in a “deep hole”, back to full strength.

“We think it’s very important to have a big package that addresses the pain this has caused – 15 million Americans behind on their rent, 24 million adults and 12 million children who don’t have enough to eat, small businesses failing,” Yellen told CNBC on Thursday.

Yellen’s remarks came as US President Joe Biden’s administration has stepped up efforts to push Congress to approve a USD1.9-trillion COVID-19 relief package, which draws opposition from a growing number of congressional Republicans.

US Federal Reserve officials broadly agreed that the Fed’s easy monetary policy will remain in place for some time, according to the minutes of the Fed’s recent policy meeting released on Wednesday.

“Participants noted that economic conditions were currently far from the Committee’s longer-run goals and that the stance for policy would need to remain accommodative until those goals were achieved,” the Fed said in the minutes of its January 26-27 meeting, referring to the Fed’s policy-making committee.

The minutes also noted that the COVID-19 pandemic continued to “pose considerable risks” to US economic outlook, including risks associated with new virus strains, and potential difficulties in the production and distribution of vaccines.