The Week In Review
The major averages ended the week on an upbeat note with the S&P 500 adding 0.5%. The benchmark index extended its weekly advance to 1.7% while the Nasdaq Composite (+0.4%) underperformed today, but still gained 2.2% for the week, ending ahead of the benchmark index.
Equity indices climbed through the first two hours of today's session and inched to fresh highs during late afternoon action. Nine sectors ended in the green while the financial sector closed on its flat line. Interestingly, the influential sector underperformed throughout the week, adding just 0.1%.
Unlike financials, six sectors registered weekly gains of at least 1.0% with the industrial space (+1.8%) climbing 3.3% for the week. Fittingly, the growth-sensitive group spent today's session in the lead, which was mainly due to a 10.8% surge in the shares of General Electric (GE 28.51, +2.78). The Dow component soared after announcing restructuring plans, including the sale of GE Capital real estate assets for about $25.60 billion. In addition, the company authorized a new buyback program of up to $50 billion.
General Electric drove the industrial sector higher while transport stocks also pulled their weight. The Dow Jones Transportation Average gained 0.7% for the day and climbed 1.9% during the week, but the complex remains lower by 4.1% since the end of 2014.
The industrial sector was the only group that added more than 0.9% while most of the remaining cyclical sectors settled behind the broader market. The top-weighted technology sector (+0.4%) was among the early laggards, but was able to finish just behind the broader market. The sector narrowed the gap during afternoon action as Apple (AAPL 127.10, +0.54) erased its early loss brought on by a Raymond James downgrade to 'Market Perform' from 'Outperform.'
Moving to the countercyclical side, health care (+0.9%) and utilities (+0.8%) outperformed with the health care sector receiving support from biotechnology. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 357.44, +4.38) jumped 1.2%, extending its weekly gain to 5.2%.
Treasuries notched their highs right around 9:30 ET and spent the day in a retreat from their highs. The 10-yr note eked out a slim gain, lowering the benchmark yield by a basis point to 1.95%.
Today's participation was relatively light with fewer than 700 million shares changing hands at the NYSE floor.
Economic data was limited to import/export prices:
Export prices, excluding agriculture, increased 0.2% in March after increasing 0.1% in the prior reading
Excluding oil, import prices fell 0.4%, which followed last month's 0.3% decline
Monday's data will be limited to the 14:00 ET release of the Treasury Budget for March.
Nasdaq Composite +5.5% YTD
Russell 2000 +5.0% YTD
S&P 500 +2.1% YTD
Dow Jones Industrial Average +1.3% YTD
Week in Review: S&P 500 Bounces Off 50-Day Moving Average
The major averages began the week on an upbeat note after shaking off their opening losses that were brought on by a disappointing jobs report for March. The S&P 500 spiked 0.7% while the Nasdaq Composite (+0.6%) followed not far behind. The Nonfarm Payrolls report for March was released on Friday and it disappointed on all fronts. Only 126,000 payrolls were added while the Briefing.com consensus expected a reading of 250,000. Since the cash market was closed on Friday, the news weighed on the futures market, sending futures on the S&P 500 down 20 points. Index futures were able to cut their losses in half by Monday's opening bell and the S&P 500 erased a ten-point deficit just 15 minutes into the session. The index spent the rest of the day in a steady climb with all ten sectors logging gains. Once again, the market interpreted bad news as good, rallying on the belief that the disappointing jobs report will cause the Federal Reserve to postpone its first rate hike.
Equity indices halted their two-day win streak on Tuesday with the S&P 500 shedding 0.2%. The benchmark index surrendered its modest intraday gain during the final hour while the Nasdaq Composite (-0.1%) settled just ahead. The major averages climbed out of the gate and hit their session highs during the initial 90 minutes; however, relative weakness among influential sectors like consumer discretionary (-0.5%), financials (-0.4%), and consumer staples (-0.4%) prevented the market from eclipsing the early high. Instead, equities spent the afternoon in a sideways drift and slid into negative territory shortly ahead of the close. Only two sectors finished the day in the green with health care (+0.3%) holding the lead into the afternoon. The countercyclical group underperformed on Monday, but Tuesday's strength was fueled by biotechnology. The iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB) jumped 0.9% and helped the Nasdaq Composite display relative strength throughout the day. In addition to receiving support from biotechnology, the tech-heavy Nasdaq benefited from strength among chipmakers.
The stock market ended Wednesday on a higher note, but not before making a couple appearances in the red. The S&P 500 added a modest 0.3% while the Nasdaq Composite (+0.8%) outperformed. Equity indices climbed out of the gate with the Nasdaq receiving major support from biotechnology. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 notched its session high during the initial 30 minutes, but returned to its flat line shortly thereafter amid significant weakness in the energy sector (-1.0%). The growth-sensitive energy space was pressured by a tailspin in crude oil futures after latest data from the American Petroleum Institute revealed that crude inventories increased by 10.9 million barrels since last week. As a result, total inventories have reached levels not seen at this time of the year in at least 80 years. WTI crude fell 6.5% to $50.44/bbl, erasing its Tuesday advance, and cutting into its gain from Monday.
Thursday ended on a modestly higher note after the market endured a volatile session. The S&P 500 added 0.5% after finding support at its 50-day moving average (2,076) while small caps struggled with the Russell 2000 sliding 0.4%. Equity indices rallied out of the gate after index futures erased their overnight losses. However, the cash market did not escape without making its own appearance in the red, but the morning pullback was limited in scope. The S&P 500 briefly dipped below its 50-day moving average and returned into the green in short order. The bulk of the afternoon saw the index range near its unchanged level, but the final hour of action featured a surge to a fresh high for the day. Eight of ten sectors registered gains with all six cyclical groups ending higher. The growth-sensitive bunch was led by energy (+1.6%), which held the lead throughout the day. The sector held its own while crude oil slumped from its intraday high, but still rose 0.7% to $50.81/bbl.