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Mid-Week Market Minute 09.24.20

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Global stocks were mostly lower this week as political and Covid-19 uncertainty continued to weigh on risk sentiment. From a policy perspective, Congress has made little headway in passing the second round of fiscal stimulus, as Republicans and Democrats find themselves divided on key issues like unemployment benefits and funding support for state and local governments. Speeches from several policy makers garnered attention this week, including Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell as well as Treasury Secretary Steven. Fed Chair Powell’s comments reiterated the Fed’s commitment to stabilizing the economy, while also citing the importance of further fiscal stimulus. Across the pond, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the nation’s workers to work from home if they could, on the heels of a “perilous turning point” in new coronavirus cases. On the data front, the Federal Housing Finance Agency house price index increased by 1.0% in July, showing increases across all 9 regions in the United States. The Richmond Fed manufacturing index showed an increase in activity during the month of September, with strong increases in both the new orders and employment components. The Volatility Index (VIX) is pricing in higher than normal levels of market volatility in the months of October, November, and December. As to be expected, we can anticipate volatility to be higher than usual leading up to and following the election. Interest rates remained range-bound this week, with yields on the 2-year and 10-year Treasury notes trading around 0.14% and 0.68% respectively mid-week.