Market Recap for Week Ended May 11:
The recent rise in crude oil prices has lifted shares of energy stocks, which have lagged the broader market in recent years. Some of the week’s biggest gainers were stocks of major oil producers, and energy trails only information technology among the strongest-peforming sectors year to date.
Although stocks have made some big daily moves in recent weeks, investors’ expectations of near-term volatility have decreased markedly, as measured by the Cboe Volatility Index. As of Friday’s close, the VIX had fallen more than 40% from its level of April 9, a recent high point.
U.S. companies have been buying back their shares at a record pace this year, in part due to the new tax law that reduced corporate tax rates. Among the S&P 500 companies that had reported first-quarter results through Thursday, share repurchase activity totaled $158 billion, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. That was on pace to make the quarter the biggest ever for buybacks.
A government report showed that the recent acceleration in inflation may be moderating. Core prices—which exclude typically volatile food and energy costs—rose just 0.1% in April from the prior month, less than most economists had expected.
U.K. growth slump
The United Kingdom’s central bank kept interest rates unchanged but cut its forecast of economic growth for the year. The Bank of England now expects GDP to grow by 1.4% this year, down from its previous projection of 1.8%.