A strong second quarter earnings season buoyed stocks early in the third quarter. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, more than 75% of U.S. companies reported higher revenues in Q2 2021 than Q2 2019. FactSet also reported that 90% of companies delivered positive earnings-per-share and revenue surprises for the quarter. As widely anticipated, falling pandemic risks gave way to surging economic activity that was good for business.
U.S. stocks marched higher in the first quarter, with the S&P 500 pushing through 17 new highs and reaching 4,000 for the first time. “Risk-on” sentiment is being driven by what investors and consumers see as the longawaited economic reopening, improving and accelerating economic data, and arguably the greatest fiscal stimulus experiment in the country’s history. The latest stimulus installment, at $1.9 trillion, amounts to a staggering 9% of GDP