(July 22): US stocks continue to outperform the rest of the world this year. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, Standard & Poor’s 500 and Nasdaq Composite all hit fresh record highs this month. The three benchmark indices are currently up between 16.7% and 23.4% for the year-to-date.
This latest rally was fuelled by rising expectations for lower rates. The chairman of the US Federal Reserve all but confirmed an imminent cut in policy rates in his recent testimony to Congress, likely as soon as the end of this month. Lower interest rates will lift overall stock valuations, especially for high-growth companies.
Meanwhile, the underlying economy remains on solid ground, with the latest job market report beating expectations. Lower interest rates will extend the life of this economic expansion and, importantly, should underpin stronger wage gains.