A Mild Week for the Market

The Week on Wall Street
A short and relatively placid trading week wrapped up Thursday, with the major indices turning in mixed performances. The S&P 500 retreated 0.08%, the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.17%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.56%. The MSCI EAFE index, tracking foreign stocks in developed countries, added 0.65%.[1],[2],[3],[4]

Nothing really catalytic emerged to drive the market last week, and volumes were low.

Earnings Season Update
More than 78% of S&P 500 firms reporting so far this earnings season have surpassed analyst expectations, according to FactSet. Since guidance tends to be conservative, there is the possibility that more companies will beat forecasts than expected.[5]

The initial public offering market remained strong. Two high-profile technology companies came public on Thursday and were met with enthusiasm from investors. As mentioned in recent weeks, 2019 could be a banner year for IPOs.

Retail Sales Rebound
March’s 1.6% gain was the biggest monthly advance seen since September 2017. Sales of cars and gasoline rose more than 3%.

If the upcoming March consumer spending report is also impressive, concerns about the current business cycle peaking may recede.[6]

Final Thought
Nearly 800 companies will report earnings this week, including some high-profile names. This kicks off five weeks of active daily earnings reports.

Investors will watch corporate profits, guidance, and fundamental indicators with great interest, to try and glean whether the economy is strengthening or softening. Reports on first-quarter economic growth and existing home sales will command particular attention.

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Dow, S&P, Nasdaq All Rise

The Week on Wall Street
The big story last week was the sudden grounding of Boeing 737 Max 8 and 9 passenger jets in dozens of countries. The financial effects of this ban could potentially impact the airline industry and segments of the economy for months.[1]

While the news created a headwind for the Dow Industrials, stocks managed to post solid gains for the week. The Nasdaq Composite rose 3.12%; the S&P 500, 2.46%; the Dow, 2.25%.[2],[3],[4]

Bullish sentiment was also evident overseas. Looking at the MSCI EAFE index, international stocks advanced 1.93%.[5]

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S&P Ends Week Little Changed

The Week on Wall Street
Stocks lost a little ground as February gave way to March. While domestic and overseas political developments made headlines, the market stayed relatively calm: from Monday’s open through Friday’s close, the S&P 500 ceded just 0.17%, finishing the week at 2,803.69.[1]

The Dow declined 0.65% in five trading sessions to 26,026.32, while the Nasdaq finished the week 0.06% higher at 7,595.35. The MSCI EAFE index of international stocks rose 0.24% for the week.[2],[3],[4]

Volatility has dropped in the past few weeks. Wall Street has grown less anxious about the possibility of new tariffs and higher interest rates this year.

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Stocks Post Small Weekly Gains

The Week on Wall Street
Major U.S. stock benchmarks eked out slight gains last week, with corporate profit reports and news about U.S.-China trade negotiations vying for investor attention over five trading sessions.

The big three ended the week little changed from where they settled the previous Friday. The Dow Jones Industrials rose 0.17% percent, while the S&P 500 Index gained 0.05% percent. The NASDAQ Composite ended the week up 0.47%. Looking at international stocks, the MSCI EAFE index retreated 0.47%.1,2

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Markets Gain Again

Last week closed out one of stocks’ top January performances in years. In fact, both the S&P 500 and Dow posted their best January results in at least 3 decades.[1] For the week, major domestic indexes were also up. The S&P 500 gained 1.57%, the Dow added 1.32%, and the NASDAQ increased 1.38%.[2] The Dow’s performance marked its 6th week of gains in a row.[3] Internationally, MSCI EAFE stocks also posted growth, rising 0.91%.[4]

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