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Weekly Market Brief: May 13, 2024

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Sell in May and go away? Not so fast.

The S&P 500 rose 1.85% last week, bringing its year-to-date total back to nearly 10%. It’s the third straight week of gains for equities after prices experienced their first 5% decline since last October. Gold was even better, rising 2.5%.

This week, all eyes will be on inflation data for April. First up is tomorrow’s Producer Price Index update, where consensus expectations call for a slight acceleration to 2.2% on the headline number. Wednesday’s CPI report will be even more important. Core inflation - the measure that excludes volatile measures like food and energy - accelerated in March after 11 consecutive months of declines. Forecasters are hoping expecting that inflation will resume its downward trend and dip to a multi-year low of 3.6% in April.

Relatively Speaking

It may be a new year, but some things in 2024 look awfully familiar to 2023. The Communication Services and Information Technology sectors are both outperforming the S&P 500, with Communications the year-to-date leader, up nearly 19%. Participation in the bull market has broadened out, though. Last year, only the growth sectors did better than the benchmark index. This time around, 6 of the 11 sectors have outperformed. One thing that hasn’t changed? Real Estate is lagging. That sector is down almost 6%.

Risk-off areas of the market have dominated over the past month, as the Utilities jumped almost 10%, and the Consumer Staples rose 4.5%. Risk-off outperformance is often a reflection of a waning market, but it’s hard to make that argument right now - 9 of the 11 sectors were up over the period.

What's Ahead

Here are the key data releases and events to keep on eye on in the coming days.