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The Weekly Economic & Market Recap
April 9, 2021
Equity markets had another solid week which added to strong returns over the last three months. The market recovery from the pandemic low has really been in two distinct phases. The first phase of the recovery was due to the massive fiscal support and the unprecedented monetary response from the Federal Reserve that lifted stocks off the March
2020 bottom. This portion of the recovery was driven by pandemic beneficiaries primarily in the technology and consumer discretionary sectors. The S&P 500 rallied 61%, from the market lows to mid-August to totally recoup all bear market losses and to break into new market highs. After a three- month pause for the market, as uncertainty regarding the election created some profit-taking, the next phase of the bull market rally began in mid- November. The second phase of the recovery has been led by stocks that are beneficiaries of the reopening of the economy and from a steeper yield curve. The sectors that have led the way in the reopening phase have been energy and financials. The S&P 500 is up roughly 14% during the reopening phase of the market recovery. More generally, the value- oriented areas of the market have outperformed in anticipation of a strong cyclical recovery. There is plenty of evidence supporting the idea of a powerful global economic recovery in 2021 with strong consumer confidence, ample liquidity and robust manufacturing surveys. This week the International Monetary Fund raised its forecast for world growth from 5.5% to 6% due to the accelerating rollout out of Covid-19 vaccines and vast sums of government aid. The IMF expects the U.S. economy to grow by 6.4%, which is the fastest rate of annual growth since 1984. The above trend growth rate is forecast to continue with 3.5% growth in 2022. Optimism regarding the economic expansion has bled over into buoyant investor sentiment. A survey by the American Association of Individual Investors found that bullish sentiment at 56.9% was at the highest level since the beginning of 2018 and was significantly above the long-term average reading of 38%. Typically, such high investor sentiment readings and elevated valuation levels indicate a period of market consolidation is ahead. For the equity market to make continued progress, strong economic expectations need to translate into earnings growth. Investors will be closely watching corporate earnings reports that begins later this month.
Click below to listen to this week's Peapack Private Wealth Management Market Report as heard on WCBS NewsRadio 880.