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Week in Review: Sep.25.2023 - Sep.29.2023

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October 2, 2023

Market Recap


The S&P 500 index fell 0.7% last week, capping September trading with the market benchmark's largest monthly loss since December 2022 and its first quarterly loss in a year amid rate policy worries. The S&P 500 ended Friday's session at 4,288.05, down from last week's closing level of 4,320.06. This marks its fourth consecutive week in the red, putting its September return at a 4.77% loss, its second consecutive down month. Friday also marked the end of Q3.

The S&P 500 ended the quarter with a 3.6% drop since the end of June, representing its first quarterly loss since Q3 of 2022. The index is still in positive territory this year, gaining 12% since the start of 2023.

There's just something about September trading and I don't think we have to over analyze it. Rather it was right in line with what we have come to experience in recent history;

Below is the performance of the S&P 500 over the last four Septembers:

2020: -3.80%

2021: -4.65%

2022: -9.21%

2023: -4.77%

But...have a look at the performance of the S&P 500 over the last three Q4s:

2020: +11.69%

2021: +10.65%

2022: +7.08%

2023: ??????

And look on the bright side, September is over……

The S&P 500 had climbed in the first half of the year on optimism that the Federal Open Market Committee would stop raising rates. While there have been pauses, investors are now bracing for another increase after the policy-setting committee lifted its median rate outlook last week for 2024 and 2025. Worries about this have fueled the index's recent declines.

By sector, utilities had the largest percentage drop of the week, falling 7.0%, followed by a 2.1% slide in consumer staples and declines of 1.6% each in financials and real estate. However, two sectors managed to post weekly gains: Energy rose 1.3% and materials edged up 0.2%.

The utilities sector's decliners included shares of NextEra Energy (NEE), which shed 15% as Chesapeake Utilities Corp. (CPK) unveiled an agreement to acquire Florida City Gas from NextEra Energy for $923 million in cash. Analysts at firms including Scotiabank, BMO Capital and Evercore ISI reduced their price targets on NextEra Energy's stock.

In consumer staples, shares of Conagra Brands (CAG) fell 5.0% as JPMorgan Chase cut its price target on the stock to $32 per share from $37 while maintaining a neutral investment rating on the shares.

On the upside, the energy sector's advance came as futures in natural gas and crude rose on the week. Gainers included EQT Corp. (EQT), up 5.5%, and Coterra Energy (CTRA), up 3.8%.

This week, Q4 will kick off with August construction spending data as well as readings from the Institute for Supply Management on September manufacturing and services. However, investors will be most focused on September employment data, with ADP's report on private sector employment expected on Wednesday and the Labor Department's closely watched September payrolls and unemployment rate due Friday.

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