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The Market Wrap for July 23: COVID-19 Enters the Chat

Traders were faced with an old foe this week. Namely, the coronavirus. While vaccine efforts improved outcomes and the economy is pretty much back to normal, traders were hit hard this week as COVID-19 cases are, once again, starting to spike. The Delta variant of the virus is starting to cause a major increase in the number of infected cases. At the same time, vaccine efforts have started to stall. With the surge in cases, traders spent much of the week wondering if new lockdowns and mask requirements would be on the table before year-end. This sent stocks lower for much of the week.

Economic data didn’t help either. Surprise upticks in unemployment claims and other poor economic data threw cold water on the economic recovery. Some analysts have begun to wonder if we’ve moved into the next position of the business cycle.

However, one bright spot on the week has continued to be earnings. The second quarter of the year has proven to be great for firms’ bottom lines. A wide variety of bellwethers have continued to report better revenues and profits. Dividends and buyback programs have bounced back as well. However, guidance has remained cautious – especially with supply chain, inflation and, now, the COVID-19 resurgence entering estimations.

All in all, investors spent much of the week in panic mode with volatility rising.

Be sure to check out our previous Wrap here, when inflation sent stocks lower.

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