U.S. large cap stocks outperformed in July, with the S&P 500 posting gains for a sixth straight month, its longest winning streak since 2018. Equities finished lower the last week of the month amid renewed concerns over rising caseloads of the Delta variant and weaker-than-expected second quarter revenue and slower third quarter sales outlooks from a small number of mega cap tech companies. Meanwhile, investors dialed back fears over the timing of when the Federal Reserve will begin tapering their monthly asset purchases. Policymakers voted unanimously 11-0 to keep interest rates and bond purchases unchanged at current levels. Amid the varying crosscurrents, the Cboe VIX Volatility Index increased 15.2% in July, its first increase in six months.
- The broad market S&P 500 finished July just 0.59% below its all-time high set July 26 at 4,222.30. The benchmark equity index has posted 41 record-setting highs so far this year, seven in July.
- The Dow Industrials gained 1.34% (+433 points) in July trailing the S&P 500 by 1%, while both indices extended gains into a sixth month.
- The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 1.19% last month.
- The Small Cap Russell 2000 Index ended negative last month (-3.61%), breaking a nine-month rally (which was its longest since June 1983).
- Among major asset classes since the March 23, 2020 bear market low, the S&P 500 has more than doubled (+100.8%), the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index has gained 5.9% and the Bloomberg Commodities Index has climbed 55.3%.
- Gold prices rose 2.6% last month, paring its YTD loss to 4.1%. In contrast, copper rose 3.7% to extend its YTD gain to 25.2%.
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The Monthly Recap is published by Cetera Investment Management LLC, an SEC registered adviser owned by Cetera Financial Group. Cetera Investment Management provides market perspectives, portfolio guidance, model management, and other investment advice to its affiliated broker-dealers, dually registered broker-dealers and registered investment advisers.
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