US stocks, as measured by the S&P 500 index, declined approximately 1% last week as hospitalizations and deaths in the US from the COVID-19 pandemic reached daily records (Chart 1). Despite these grim milestones, US equities continue to trade near all-time highs as investors anticipate an end to the pandemic in the coming months as vaccines are broadly distributed across the nation and the world. Although the latest round of fiscal stimulus stalling over the past few months, the coordinated global response from governments and central banks has been unprecedented and mitigated much of the economic impact of the pandemic. Forward looking economic indicators have now been rising for several months, and are expected to continue (Chart 2 from the Conference Board).
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