Second-Quarter 2021 Recap: Markets gain amid continued recovery
Risk markets posted gains in the second quarter, lifted by optimism about the global economic recovery. In many parts of the world, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines accelerated, virus-related restrictions continued to ease, and fiscal and monetary support remained strong. Major U.S. and international equity indexes performed especially well, including the S&P 500 Index which returned 8.55%. Following significant losses in the first quarter, second quarter results were broadly positive across the global fixed-income markets as long-term inflation expectations moderated. The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index returned 1.83%, led by strength in corporate issues.
During the quarter, the percentage of U.S. adults who were fully vaccinated increased from just over 20% to nearly 60% on June 30.¹ Rising vaccination rates and the sustained reopening of the economy translated into some very strong U.S. economic data. The ISM index of manufacturing activity rose to levels unseen since the early 1980s, and the ISM index of services activity reached its highest level since it was established in 1997. Additionally, retail sales remained robust on the heels of 11.3% month over-month growth in March.