The week that was:
Stephen Marcus, my best friend when I was ten years old, albeit for a short period (more on that later), had a couple of gerbils as pets, Simon and Garfunkel. I suspect his parents owned the naming rights since no kid that age knew who Mrs. Robinson was or cared about troubled waters. Unlike their namesakes, the gerbils were not exactly skilled musicians, but man could they get that exercise wheel turning. Faster and faster, but no matter how hard they worked, no matter how fast their legs moved, they always ended in the same place they began.
It's the same story with the S&P 500 over the last six weeks; aside from that brief flirt with volatility that broke the 110-day streak without a 1 percent move, the action is below the headlines as sector rotations — the legs that hold up the index — continue to move at a feverish pitch. Airlines, steel stocks — down 20 percent, the love affair with financials waning, hospitals, biotech and pharma slapping high-fives as repeal and replace crashed and burned, only for the legislation to be resuscitated midweek and technology just going and going, higher and higher.
Health care, seemingly more hated than my Duke Blue Devils, was the second best performing sector in the quarter. Energy, despite virtually all non-US producers singing from the same book of hymns, suffered from being on the wrong side of a 1300 basis point discrepancy in performance.
Treasuries, meanwhile, sucked in the traders, slapping them around for being short in expectation of more hawkish FOMC commentary only to rally from a 2.6 percent yield to sub 2.4 percent. But overall, the week that was turned out much better than most anyone's expectations, particularly after seeing futures tick down close to 1 percent on Sunday evening, the market proving it is much more resilient than Simon — or was it Garfunkel, who I accidentally stepped on as I shook him from my shoulder. Fortunately for Garfunkel — or was it Simon, he — or was it a she — it was a quick demise and, I swear, accidental. And there it is, the reason for my abbreviated friendship with Stephen Marcus.