Week in Review: Trump Rally Marches On

For the week ended 9 December 2016

  • US stocks reach new high
  • ECB extends quantitative easing another year
  • Renzi resigns in wake of Italy referendum
  • Austria elects establishment candidate
  • China's imports and exports on the rise

Global equities recorded solid gains this week, as major US indices set fresh records and European stocks posted their best week since February. The S&P 500 Index gained 2.75% through Thursday and about 4.05% for the month, setting a new all-time high. Oil prices slid slightly this week, with West Texas Intermediate crude falling 58 cents a barrel to $51.10 and global Brent dropping 46 cents a barrel, to $54.01, as of early Friday morning. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury note increased 8 basis points week over week, trading at 2.46% Friday, and was about 55 basis points higher than it was on November 8, Election Day in the US.

GLOBAL MACRO NEWS

Global stocks continued to post strong gains this week as investors moved out of defensive asset classes, taking on more risk. The strongest pockets of the US market since the election have been materials, industrials, energy, financials and technology. Meanwhile, high-yield bond sector spreads remained compressed, with most sectors sitting at 52-week lows, indicating that investors are still seeking yield opportunities. Emerging market bond spreads also shrank this week, while US investment-grade bond spreads narrowed as well, albeit slightly. Yields on municipal bonds also fell this week, indicating a reversal of a recent selloff in the asset class.

ECB will continue QE through 2017
The European Central Bank announced that it would extend its quantitative easing program until December 2017, although it reduced its monthly purchases to €60 billion from €80 billion. The ECB tweaked its rules to allow the purchase of bonds yielding less than its -0.4% deposit rate. Markets were mixed on the news. Longer-dated German government bond yields increased, while shorter-term German yields fell. The euro declined about 1.39% against the US dollar.

The eurozone economy has improved in recent months, although two of this week's data releases fell short of expectations. UK manufacturing output unexpectedly fell 0.9% in October, and German industrial production also came up short.

Italians reject constitutional reform
Italian voters rejected a referendum on constitutional reform early last week, prompting Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to resign. The  result continues the anti-establishment trend in the United States and Europe. Renzi agreed to remain in office until the Italian Senate passes a 2017 budget. Moody's cut Italy's sovereign rating outlook to negative from stable after the vote. The outlook change means the credit rating agency could downgrade Italian debt if current conditions remain the same. The country's debt is currently rated two notches above junk status. Shares of Italian banks fell after the vote. The Italian government is preparing to take a €2 billion controlling stake in the bank Monte dei Paschi, whose shares fell 15% on the week. The government plans to buy junior bonds with the goal of encouraging private investors to raise a total of $5.3 billion the bank needs to avoid forcing losses on its bondholders.

Austrian voters buck anti-establishment trend
Austrian voters elected pro-European candidate Alexander Van der Bellen as president this week, bucking the anti-establishment mood in the European Union. Van der Bellen won a close contest in May, but voting irregularities forced the week's runoff election.

China's exports rise
China's trade data surprised analysts to the upside this week as imports and exports both increased sharply in November. Exports rose 0.1 % year over year, reversing a 7.3% decline recorded in October, while imports grew 6.7%, the fastest pace since 2014. The growth in imports suggests stronger domestic demand while the rise in exports indicates that global demand has also strengthened. Despite these increases, however, China's imports and exports remained negative for the year through November. The yuan has fallen about 3% versus the US dollar since October, while China's foreign exchange reserves fell to their lowest level since March 2011. China's reserves fell $69 billion in November, which was its fifth straight monthly decline.

THE WEEK AHEAD

  • China's industrial production and retail sales data are released on Monday, 12 December 12
  • The Federal Open Market Committee meets on Tuesday and Wednesday, 14–15 December
  • The eurozone's industrial production figures are released on Wednesday, 14 December
  • US business inventory, retail sales and industrial production data are released on Wednesday, 14 December
  • US Consumer Price Index, NAHB housing market index and jobless claims data are released on Thursday, 15 December

Stay focused and diversified
In any market environment, we strongly believe that investors should stay diversified across a variety of asset classes. By working closely with your financial advisor, you can help ensure that your portfolio is properly diversified and that your financial plan supports your long-term goals, time horizon and tolerance for risk. Diversification does not guarantee a profit or protect against loss.

The information included above as well as individual companies and/or securities mentioned should not be construed as investment advice, a recommendation to buy or sell or an indication of trading intent on behalf of any MFS product.

Securities discussed may or may not be holdings in any of the MFS funds. For a complete list of holdings for any MFS portfolio, please see the most recent annual, semiannual or quarterly report. Full holdings are also available on the individual Fund Summary tab in the Products section of mfs.com.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Sources: MFS research; The Wall Street Journal; The Wall Street Journal Online; Bloomberg News; Financial Times; Forbes.com; CNNMoney.com; NBCNews.com.

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