Markets Ignoring Politics

Markets tuned out noise from Washington last week and continued to focus on economic fundamentals. Mildly rebounding retail sales and strong consumer sentiment seem to point toward a modestly stronger second quarter.[i]

After a three-week winning streak, both the Dow and S&P 500 reported slight losses.[ii] The Dow closed with a 0.53% loss, and the S&P 500 reported a 0.35% decline for the week.[iii] The NASDAQ, however, rose 0.34% while the MSCI EAFE reported a modest 0.16% gain.[iv]


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Strong Markets and Slow GDP

Stocks continued their advance on generally strong earnings reports this week despite the GDP report showing a slow first quarter economy. The S&P 500 rose 1.51%, the Dow gained 1.91%, and the NASDAQ added 2.32%.[1] On Tuesday, the NASDAQ posted record highs as it closed over 6,000 for the first time.[2] Internationally, the MSCI EAFE was up 2.97%.[3]

On Friday, April 28, we learned that first quarter GDP increased a modest 0.7%, lower than

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First Quarter Review

The first quarter of 2017 is now behind us, and although we won’t have complete economic data for a while, we do know that domestic stocks had a solid start to the year. Last week, major indexes took a pause from some recent gains and began the second quarter of 2017 with less than thrilling performance. The S&P 500 lost 0.30%, the Dow was down 0.03%, the NASDAQ gave back 0.57%, and the MSCI EAFE declined 0.72%.[i] For this week’s update, I’m going to look at what happened to markets in the first quarter.

How did markets perform in Q1?

All three major domestic indexes posted sizable gains in the first three months of 2017:[ii]

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Markets fall, but what does the data suggest?

Last week, all four of the indexes I discuss in these market updates saw their performance stumble. The S&P 500 lost 1.44%, the Dow was down 1.52%, the NASDAQ gave back 1.22%, and the MSCI EAFE declined 0.07%.[i]

On Tuesday, March 21, the S&P 500 and Dow recorded 1% declines for the first time since Oct. 11, 2016.[ii] By Friday, the S&P had posted its worst week since the election.[iii] At the same time, 10-year Treasury yields fell and the dollar dropped for the second straight week.[iv]

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Fed Raises Rates Again

For the fifth time in six weeks, domestic stock indexes ended last week in positive territory. The S&P 500 gained 0.24%, the NASDAQ added 0.67%, and the Dow eked out a 0.06% increase.[i] International equities in the MSCI EAFE grew by a sizable 1.99%.[ii]

Over the week, we received a series of economic updates that gave a mostly positive view of the economy’s progression, including the following data for February:

  • The Producer Price Index beat expectations and rose 0.3%.[iii]
  • The Consumer Price Index beat expectations and rose 0.1%.[iv]
  • Retail Sales met expectations and rose 0.1%.[v]
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