NEW YORK, June 30 (Reuters) – Investors have enjoyed a rewarding ride in the first half of 2021, as unprecedented economic stimulus, stellar earnings growth and a reopening U.S. economy powered the S&P 500 to record highs and a 14% year-to-date gain, putting the index on track for a first-half performance rivaled only once in over two decades.
Mounting inflation, worries over a sooner-than-expected rollback of the Federal Reserve’s bond buying program and forecasts of a peak in economic growth have left investors studying a number of trends for clues on how asset prices will behave in the second half of the year.
ECONOMIC DATA SURPRISES
While analysts have pointed to the strength of U.S. economic numbers as a major driver of the gains in stocks, it may be more difficult for future data to beat expectations as the economy returns to pre-pandemic levels of growth.
Citigroup’s U.S. Economic Surprise Index, which measures the degree to…