This Weekly Market Update reviews the top market headlines: Hiring Accelerates in March, Consumer Confidence Jumps, U.S. Home Prices Soar in January

Top Three Market Headlines 

Hiring Accelerates in March: The U.S. Department of Labor reported last week that U.S. nonfarm payrolls grew by 916,000 in March, marking the third straight month of growth and the best monthly performance since last August. While hiring rose in most industries, the biggest gains came in leisure and hospitality (+280,000) as pandemic-related restrictions eased in many parts of the country. The construction industry also reported solid growth, adding 110,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate continued to trend down, falling to 6.0% in March; this is well below the 14.8% peak registered in April of last year, but remains above the pre-pandemic rate of 3.5%.

Consumer Confidence Jumps: The Conference Board, a private research group, reported last week that its Consumer Confidence Index, which reflects consumers' current and six-month future outlooks for the economy and the labor market, jumped to 109.7 in March. This was a 21% increase from the prior month and the highest reading since the pandemic began a year ago. Consumers' assessment of current conditions and their future outlook both increased materially from the prior month. Reflecting the improved optimism, surveys indicated higher purchase intentions among consumers for big ticket items such as homes and autos.

U.S. Home Prices Soar in January: Home prices across 20 major U.S. metropolitan areas grew 11.2% in January over the prior year, according to the S&P Core Logic Case-Shiller Home Prices Indices released last week. Beating analyst expectations, the sharp increase was the fastest annual growth rate seen since 2006. This was also the seventh consecutive month that the year-over-year rate of gains has accelerated. The recent price surge has been driven by constrained supply combined with heightened demand as buyers look to take advantage of low mortgage rates. Among the cities surveyed, Phoenix, Seattle, and San Diego continue to report the highest year-over-year gains.

As of April 5, 2021 Week Quarter-To-Date Year-To-Date One-Year
MSCI All Country World 1.21% 1.16% 5.78% 60.40%
S&P 500 1.16% 1.18% 7.43% 61.78%
Russell 2000 1.50% 1.51% 14.40% 110.01%
MSCI EAFE 0.48% 0.71% 4.21% 50.77%
MSCI Emerging Markets 2.40% 1.66% 3.99% 62.90%
FTSE NAREIT 0.65% 2.05% 11.10% 53.09%
Bloomberg Commodity -0.35% 0.47% 7.42% 36.35%
Barclays U.S. Aggregate 0.00% 0.10% -3.28% 0.64%

S&P Global 3/30/2021, BLS 4/02/2021, WSJ 4/02/2021, The Conference Board 3/20/2021. Data from Morningstar Direct. Returns for periods greater than one year are annualized. Investment advisory, named and independent fiduciary services are offered through Gallagher Fiduciary Advisors, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Adviser. Gallagher Fiduciary Advisors, LLC does not express an investment opinion regarding any specific commodity, sector or individual security. Unless otherwise expressly noted, the contents of this communication do not constitute securities or investment advice, nor should this communication be construed as an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment. Gallagher Fiduciary Advisors, LLC is a single-member, limited-liability company, with Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc. as its single member. Neither Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., Gallagher Fiduciary Advisors, LLC nor their affiliates provide accounting, legal or tax advice. The information provided cannot take into account all the various factors that may affect your particular situation, therefore you should consult your Gallagher Fiduciary Advisors consultant before acting upon any information or recommendation contained herein to discuss the suitability of the information/recommendation for your specific situation.