Despite some significant daily movements, the major U.S. Markets (S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, and NASDAQ Composite Index) remained essentially flat for the second half of April. The Dow and NASDAQ both posted modest losses of 0.5% while the S&P 500 rose by 0.2%. Thanks to a strong first half of the month, April recorded gains in all major markets. The S&P 500 and NASDAQ both grew by over 5% and the Dow rose over 2.5%.
As of Friday, April 30th, 60% of S&P 500 companies have reported first-quarter earnings estimates. Of those reporting, 86% exceeded analysts’ estimates, according to FactSet. This is above average and points to a strong beginning to 2021.
The Federal Reserve concluded their regularly scheduled meeting last week where they again affirmed their commitment to economic growth. There made no changes to interest rates and in fact, no rate hikes are anticipated until the end of 2022, at the earliest.
The latest round of stimulus spending is making its way through the economy. This includes direct payments to individuals as well as funds allocated to states and local governments. These funds will likely have a positive impact on the economy although we will closely track inflation and interest rates as they could rise.
Last weekend included further signs of a “return to normal” as more than 50,000 spectators gathered in person to watch the Kentucky Derby. Over 100,000,000 Americans are fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus and nearly 150,000,000 have received at least one dose.