There’s an old saying that the markets climb a wall of worry, and August exemplified this. The S&P 500 closed the month with 7 months of gains despite rising worry about the Delta variant of COVID-19, inflation, and employment.
Despite the resurgence of COVID-19 in the form of the delta variant, equity markets reached record highs in July. Of the S&P 500 companies that reported earnings in the month, 88% beat expectations and 84% had positive topline results.
Markets reached new highs in the first half of this year, driven by a pandemic rebound and all the optimism that entails. Year-to-date returns for the S&P 500 are 14.41% through June 30, the 18th best start to a year for stocks.