Equities advanced last week on optimism of a potential debt-ceiling agreement, leading to the S&P 500 Index returning just under 10% so far in 2023. Despite a near-double digit return from the S&P 500 Index, the S&P 500 Equal Weight Index has returned just 1.7% this year. Why the difference? This year's stock market performance has been primarily driven by a narrow segment of mega-cap tech companies, who most recently have benefited from the hype around artificial intelligence. The top ten companies in the S&P 500 Index, seven of which are tech companies, currently make up over 30% of the index. (Source: TDAmeritrade)
Last week's earnings were a gauge on consumer spending, as we heard from the likes of Home Depot, Target, and Walmart. In aggregate, the data was a mixed bag. Home Depot and Target missed on earnings expectations earlier in the week, increasing concerns of a slowdown in consumer spending. Those fears were somewhat alleviated by Walmart later in the week which easily beat earnings expectations and raised guidance for 2024. With consumer spending making up over 70% of U.S economic output, earnings from retail giants are watched closely for signs of a potential slowdown. (Source: The Wall Street Journal)
This week is quiet with economic data with the exception of the Fed's preferred measure of inflation, April's Personal Consumption Expenditures (Core PCE), on Friday. Otherwise, all eyes will continue to be on debt-ceiling negotiations.
PGA FAIRYTALE - 46-year-old golf instructor Michael Block took the sports world by storm over the weekend. Block had never made the cut at any of the four major golf tournaments, yet hit a hole-in-one on the final day and placed 15th overall at the PGA Championship over the weekend, earning him $288,333. Block, who charges $125 for a 45-minute golf lesson, shattered his previous career-high earnings of $7,960. (Source: ESPN)
REAL ESTATE FEES - On Zillow's recent earning's call, they estimated that American's pay $300 billion annually in real estate transaction fees. These transaction fees include broker fees, fees regarding escrow, title, homeowner association, and city and county transfer taxes. (Source: Zillow)
TIPPING EVERYWHERE - Does it seem like you're prompted for a tip more than ever? That is because you are. Square, who powers many of the iPads requesting a tip when checking out, said that the number of tipped transactions were up 17% year-over-year at full-service restaurants and 16% at quick-service restaurants. (Source: The Wall Street Journal)
IT TAKES A VILLAGE - People born outside the U.S. made up 18.1% of the labor force, up from 17.4% a year prior and the highest level since 1996. The much-needed labor supporting the U.S. economy is a result of sluggish U.S. population growth and accelerating baby-boomer retirements. (Source: The Wall Street Journal)