Energy shares climbed as crude oil prices hit a fresh 2016 high, contributing to a broad rally in US stocks on Monday. The Dow rose 175, the S&P advanced 20 and the Nasdaq added 58. Stocks on Tuesday essentially erased their gains from the day before after a monthly gauge of inflation showed prices increased last month at the fastest pace in three years. The Dow fell 181, the S&P dropped 19 and the Nasdaq shed 60. S. stocks finished little-changed late Wednesday following a bumpy session after minutes from the Federal Reserve’s most recent meeting indicated that “most” of its members are ready to lift rates as early as June. The Dow lost 3, the S&P was flat and the Nasdaq gained 23. The Dow fell for a third straight session and the S&P erased its gains for the year on Thursday. The Dow fell 91, the S&P lost 8 and the Nasdaq dropped 27. U.S. stocks closed higher on Friday as fears of an interest-rate hike ebbed with the S&P and the Nasdaq posting weekly gains, but the Dow extended its losing streak for a fourth week. The Dow gained 66 to 17,501, the S&P rose 12 to 2,052 and the Nasdaq added 57 to 4,770.
May 26th is the anniversary of the Dow’s all-time closing high, reinforcing for stockholders just how long a new record has eluded them. Records seemed the natural course of events in recent years. The blue-chip index, which also turns 120 years old on May 26th, hot 52 records in 2013, 38 in 2014 and 6 in 2015. But since last May, despite several attempts at besting last year’s marker, the Dow has instead achieved this milestone: the longest stretch without a record close in more than 3 years. The Dow is 4.3% away from its all-time high of 18,312. The S&P is 3.9% below its record high of 2,131 on May 21, 2015.
The negative feeling is spreading. Fitch ratings said that the world-wide supply of government debt that yields less than zero was nearing $10 trillion. Of that, Japan accounts for 66%, while the remainder is in Europe. All told, this debt yields negative $24 billion. Back in 2006, before the financial crisis and multi-year experiment with extraordinary monetary policy, this would have yielded $180 billion, Fitch said. The sinking feeling this brings about is in investors’ wallets.