The S&P 500 Index, along with related funds including the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY), iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: IVV) and Vanguard 500 Index (NYSEArca: VOO), were 0.2% lower Friday as traders engaged in the time-honored tradition of profit taking.
“We see expensive valuations and slightly exuberant sentiment, which is making us take a little step back and sell some equities,” Wouter Sturkenboom, multiasset investment strategist at Russell Investments, told the Wall Street Journal.
Ever since President Donald Trump promised to announce tax reforms in the weeks ahead, U.S. markets jumped to new record highs, with banks in the financial sector largely outperforming.
The widely observed Financial Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLF) gained 3.2% over the past week while the S&P 500 was up 1.8%.
With the fourth quarter earnings season wrapping up and expectations for growth and corporate profits priced into equities, investors are looking for cues out of the Trump administration to justify any further gains.
“While the markets have continued to melt up a little in the past two weeks, I’m not seeing depth, volume or conviction of the market that is looking to break out higher,” Joe Brusuelas, chief economist at RSM US LLP, told Reuters. “If anything I think we are setting up for a period of profit taking, while forward-looking investors await more signs from the White House.”
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