- The S&P 500® was up 2.61% in February, bringing its YTD return to 1.47%.
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average® gained 3.17% for the month and was up 1.06% YTD.
- The S&P MidCap 400® increased 6.67% for the month and 8.22% YTD.
- The S&P SmallCap 600® returned 7.56% in February and had a YTD return of 14.27%.
"If you can't get on the train, step aside, there's another one right behind it." That automated New York City subway announcement moved to Washington this month, where a "go big" outlook on fiscal stimulus continued. The original USD 1.9 trillion stimulus bill (passed by the House and sent to the Senate) is now expected to total at least USD 1.6 trillion (after the opening Republican offer of USD 618 billion), with another one in the USD 1+ trillion area being worked on. Good thing interest rates are "still" low to cover the debt, wouldn't want to inflate the concern—but note the 10-year U.S. Treasury closed at 1.42%, as the 30-year closed at 2.15%. The impact of the prior stimulus bill was seen in the Weekly Unemployment Report (this month), as the total number of people collecting unemployment in all programs increased 2.6 million to 20.44 million (ending the month at 19.04 million), and the supplementary USD 300 weekly payment was started up again (the expired one had been USD 600). The effect of the stimulus bill was also shown by the 10% increase in Personal Income seen in January. For the market, the two-part harmony of the U.S. Fed and Treasury stimulus and support expanded, as some now saw it as three-part harmony, with the third part being individuals, which had been heard for a while, but they had now continued long enough to be considered part of the band by many. While not everyone agrees on the third part (ask GameStop traders), the two-part harmony seemed strong enough for the short-term, and if you don't fight the Fed you don't short Fed and friends (with the sidebar being that there is not much selling, outside of some IT profit taking, yielding little resistance to the upside). The Street's bottom line was the S&P 500 posting five new closing highs for the month (with six for The Dow®), as the S&P 500 closed above 3,900 for the first time, ending the month shy at 3,811.15 (3,800 was broken on Jan. 7, 2021; 3,700 on Dec. 8, 2020; 3,600 on Nov. 16, 2020). The S&P 500 posted a 2.61% February gain (it was up 5.94% on Feb. 12, 2021), making up for January's 1.11% decline. The index was up 1.47% YTD, up 13.12% from the U.S. Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election, and up 12.55% from the pre-COVID-19 Feb. 19, 2020, closing high (posting 30 new closing highs since then). A warning for the fun and potentially misleading stats for the Feb. 19, 2020, high (3,386.15) through the March 23, 2020, low (2,237.40), when the index declined 33.93%: the change from Feb. 19, 2020, was 12.55%, as the change from March 23, 2020, was 70.34% (personal belief: anyone using these numbers should explain the base, and not just quote a selected stat to support their point—keep your presentation kosher).