U.S. stocks moved into positive territory for the week following softer than expected inflation data. Year-over-year CPI rose 5.4% compared with estimates of around 5.3%. However, investors were focused on the less volatile core CPI, which rose 0.3% vs. consensus of 0.4%. Investor’s focus on inflation data comes as Federal Reserve officials consider unwinding some of the stimulus that has helped the economic recovery from the pandemic. COVID-19 remains a big concern in the markets, with the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant raising concerns that the recovery from the pandemic will be affected.  New coronavirus cases in the U.S. surged to the highest weekly level since early February, with the 7-day moving average now 124,000, and the August 9 daily total 235,000, the highest since early January. In Washington, Joe Biden won 19 Republican Senate votes on Tuesday for his $1 trillion infrastructure package that will now move to the House of Representatives for a vote this fall. Oil continues to face downward pressure following reports that the White House asked OPEC to increase output. This, coupled with lingering COVID-19 concerns has pushed WTI Crude back below $70 a barrel. Interest rates continue to remain historically low, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury note trading around 1.32% mid-week.

Source: GSAM, CNBC, JPM, Factor Investor

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