Market Direction; Fundamentals and Seasonality

Equity markets pulled back again last week, and basically, stocks are at break-even as we close the 1st quarter earnings season. Many factors are influencing equity pricing; monetary policy, Japan’s failure to move rates further into negative territory, Federal Reserve timing of the next [unlikely in our opinion] rate hike and corporate earnings remaining (generally) weak while the U.S. dollar has continued its decline. The widely followed Dow Jones Industrial Average, composed of large-cap blue chips, fell 1.2% last week. For the year, the DJIA is up 0.6%. The broader, more diversified S&P 500 dropped 0.5% for the week and is now ahead only 0.1% year-to-date. Small-caps, which are typically more volatile than large-caps, de-clined 1.1% for the week. For the year, the Russell 2000 is down 2.9%.

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