Markets ending the first half with a whimper

June 30, 2009

Stocks are on their back foot with the DJIA off by nearly 1% points at 8,449 and the S&P down nearly 0.8% at 919 as a gloomier than expected consumer reminded the few trading this week that a snapback in the U.S. economy is hardly a slam-dunk.

But this setback shouldn’t minimize the gains seen in riskier assets this year. Reuters has the stats:

  • But even with Tuesday’s market sell-off, the benchmark S&P 500 was on course to close its first positive quarter in almost two years, reflecting some of the optimism that led to the index’s gain of 40 percent from the 12-year closing low of early March as investors bet on economic stabilization.
  • U.S. investment grade corporate bonds have posted a year-to-date return of about 9 percent, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch data. U.S. junk, or “high yield,” bonds returned about 29 percent in the first six months of the year.
  • In the first half, excluding government-backed sales, U.S. investment-grade corporate bond sales fell to $384 billion from $503 billion a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters data. But counting the $160 billion of government-backed issuance in the first half, high-grade sales by U.S. corporations were higher than a year earlier.
  • As risk appetite returned, U.S. junk bond sales rose to $58 billion from $31 billion a year earlier.
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