Investment Commentary – April 23, 2019

Year to Date Market Indices as of Market Close April 23, 2019
Dow 26,656 (14.27%)
S&P 2,933 (17.03%)
NASDAQ 8,120 (22.39%)
Gold $1,274 (-1.80%)
OIL $64.16 (39.68%)
Barclay Bond Aggregate (2.57%)
All World Market Index (14.51%)

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq just closed at records, ending a months long drought

The S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite on Tuesday finished in record territory, notching all-time highs for the first time since fall and late summer, powered by gains in health-care and the consumer-discretionary sectors. The S&P 500 index SPX, +0.88% finished up 0.9%, or 26 points, at 2,934 (on a preliminary basis), above its closing high at 2,930.75 put in on Sept. 20. The health-care sector, as reflected in the Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF XLV, +1.58% rose about 1.6% on Tuesday. Consumer-discretionary shares, as gauged by the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR ETF XLY, +1.20% climbed 1%. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +1.32% finished up 1.3% at 8,120, closing above its Aug. 29 all-time closing high at 8,109.69. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.55% notched a 0.6% gain to end at 26,656, just off its Oct. 3 record at 26,828.39. The three main benchmarks have mounted a steady ascent since putting in their lows on Dec. 24, when equity indexes suffered heavy losses during a bruising fourth-quarter selloff that dragged the Nasdaq into bear-market territory, defined as a decline of at least 20% from a recent peak, and left the S&P 500 on the edge of ending its longest bull run ever. Strong earnings reports have to fuel Tuesday’s advance, as shares of social-networking platform Twitter Inc. TWTR, +0.13% and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin Corp. LMT, -0.03% and United Technologies Corp. UTX, -0.01% rallied after quarterly results on the session.

Around the Web:

GDP ahead: The government’s initial estimate of first-quarter GDP growth is likely to be the most closely watched economic report scheduled this week. Economists estimate the economy grew at an annual rate of 1.5% to 2.0%—down from a 2.2% figure in last year’s fourth quarter.

Calming trend: Stock market volatility has declined to its lowest level in six months, based on a gauge that measures investors’ expectations of short-term stock volatility. The Cboe Volatility Index has fallen about 52% year to date to a level that’s below its historical average.

Retail revival: After declining in February, a gauge of U.S. retail sales climbed 1.6% in March, posting its biggest monthly gain since September 2017. The gain was broad, with sales rising for nearly every retail store category.

China’s stability

Concerns about weakness in China eased as the government reported the nation’s economic growth rate held steady in the first quarter at an annual rate of 6.4%. That figure was slightly above most economists’ expectations.

Upcoming events:
Other Notable Indices (YTD)
Russell 2000 (small caps) 17.56
EAFE International 12.92
EAFE Emerging Markets 12.47

The views presented are not intended to be relied on as a forecast, research or investment advice and are the opinions of the sources cited and are subject to change based on subsequent developments. They are not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investments.