Central banks were at it again – and markets loved it.
Last week, European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi surprised markets when he indicated the ECB’s governing council was considering cutting interest rates and engaging in another round of quantitative easing. The Economist explained European monetary policy was heavily tilted toward growth before the announcement:
“The ECB is already delivering a hefty stimulus to the Euro area, following decisions taken between June 2014 and early 2015. It has introduced a negative interest rate, of minus 0.2%, which is charged on deposits left by banks with the ECB. It has also been providing ultra-cheap, long-term funding to banks provided that they improve their lending record to the private sector. And, most important of all, in January it announced a full-blooded program of quantitative easing (QE) – creating money to buy financial assets – which got under way in March with purchases of €60 billion ($68 billion) of mainly public debt each month until at least September 2016.”
Despite these hefty measures, recovery in the Euro area has been anemic, and deflation remains a significant issue. According to Draghi, Euro area QE is expected to continue until there is “a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation.” Europe is shooting for 2 percent inflation, just like the United States.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) eased monetary policy last week, too. On Monday, data showed the Chinese economy grew by 6.9 percent during the third quarter, year-over-year. Projections for future growth remain muted, according to BloombergBusiness. On Friday, the PBOC indicated it was cutting interest rates for the sixth time in 12 months.
U.S. markets thrilled to the news. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, and NASDAQ were all up more than 2 percent for the week. Many global markets delivered positive returns for the week, as well.
|Data as of 10/23/15||1-Week||Y-T-D||1-Year||3-Year||5-Year||10-Year|
|Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks)||2.1%||0.8%||6.4%||13.7%||11.9%||5.6%|
|Dow Jones Global ex-U.S.||0.6||-2.5||-3.3||3.2||0.4||2.0|
|10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)||2.1||NA||2.3||1.8||2.6||4.5|
|Gold (per ounce)||-1.7||-3.2||-5.8||-12.1||-2.8||9.6|
|Bloomberg Commodity Index||-2.6||-16.2||-25.4||-15.4||-9.8||-6.4|
|DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index||1.2||2.4||8.1||11.6||11.7||7.9|
S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.