United States

Economic activity accelerates heading into spring

U.S. activity had an increase at the end of the first quarter 2021

MONTHLY MARKET COMMENTARY  | 

Global equities ended the first quarter with solid returns in March. Sectors more sensitive to economic growth (i.e., industrials, materials, consumer discretionary) led the advance on the heels of another round of fiscal stimulus totaling roughly $1.9 trillion expected to further propel economic growth, along with steadily rising inflation expectations—the Federal Reserve (Fed) lifted its inflation estimate 0.4 percent to 2.2 percent during the quarter. In our view, a backdrop of rising inflation alongside economic growth should be supportive of risk assets.

Positive vaccine developments and faster distribution were a tailwind for risk markets through the first quarter, particularly in the U.S. Those efforts remain a key focus as investors evaluate how further reopening measures will impact certain regions, industries, and support more global growth.

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