First Quarter 2017 Market Recap

(For the quarter ended March 31, 2017.)

The Trump era dawned on Wall Street with stock price benchmarks surging to record levels. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrials peaked on March 1, closing at 2,396 and 21,116, respectively. The NASDAQ Composite topped out at 5,914 on March 30. By quarter’s end, all three benchmarks had slid fractionally from their records, but still showed healthy gains for the quarter as a whole. Company profits reported during the quarter were generally ahead of year-ago levels, but not up to record levels. One notable exception in the performance picture was the venerable retailer Sears. Its parent company, Sears Holdings, revealed a $2.2 billion loss and said there was substantial doubt that it could continue in business.

 

Through 3/31/17* Quarter 1-Year 3-Year Annualized 5-Year Annualized Closing Value
S&P 500

5.53%

14.7%

8.1%

10.9%

2,362.72

Dow Jones Industrials

4.56%

16.8%

7.9%

9.4%

20,663.22

NASDAQ Composite

9.82%

21.4%

12.1%

13.8%

5,911.74

 

Source: DST Systems, Inc. The S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrials, and NASDAQ Composite are unmanaged indexes. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. Index performance does not reflect the effects of investing costs and taxes. Actual results would vary from benchmarks and would likely have been lower. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Not responsible for any errors or omissions.

*Price only. Does not include dividends.

Economy Watch The Commerce Department closed out the books on 2016 and said that the economy grew 1.6% during the year. It had grown 2.5% in 2015. Prices in the economy overall rose 1% in 2016, compared with 0.4% in 2015.

Fed News The committee that manages interest rate policies for the Federal Reserve voted to raise short-term interest rates by a quarter of a point in March. The so-called Federal Funds rate is used as a benchmark for money market accounts and other short-term, high-quality investments. The Fed’s target range for that rate is now 0.75% to 1.00%.

Bond Market Update Bond markets largely shrugged off any upward pressure on long-term interest rates. The benchmark 10-year Treasury constant maturity yield has hovered at or just below 2.5% since New Year’s.