April was marked by the impending tariff war between the United States and China. Tensions between the world’s two largest economies certainly affected stocks both home and abroad. Escalating strife in Syria posed an additional reason for investors to be concerned. However, surging energy stocks lifted the market as crude oil prices approached $70 per barrel for the first time in almost three years. Talks between North and South Korea also helped ease investor tensions. By the close of April, the dollar reached its highest level since January, while yields on 10-year Treasuries approached 3.0% for the first time since 2014 — signs that the world views U.S. economic growth as on the rise.
With all of the upheaval during the month — both positive and negative — it’s no wonder that equities essentially closed April about where they began the month. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted meager positive monthly gains over their March closing values. The Global Dow enjoyed the best month, as the only index listed here to post a gain of over 1.0%. The Russell 2000 gained a little less than 1.0%, while the large caps of the Dow and S&P 500 crept up about 0.25%, respectively. The Nasdaq posted the smallest gain, however it leads the year-to-date race by a telling margin.
By the close of trading on April 30, the price of crude oil (WTI) was $68.57 per barrel, up from the price of $64.91 per barrel on March 29. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.798 per gallon on April 23, up from the March 26 selling price of $2.648 and $0.199 more than a year ago. The price of gold decreased by the end of April, closing at $1,316.10 on the last trading day of the month, down from its price of $1,329.60 at the end of March.
|Market/Index||2017 Close||Prior month||As of April 30||Month Change||YTD Change|
|Fed Funds||1.25%- 1.50%||1.50% - 1.75%||1.50%-1.75%||0 bps||25 bps|
|10-Year Treasuries||2.41||2.73||2.95%||22 bps||54 bps|
Equities data reflect price changes, not total return.
Last Month’s Economic News
May could see more market volatility as the political climate, both home and abroad, drives investor behavior. The month starts off with the Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Another interest rate hike could add to investor uneasiness, although such a move by the Committee would be a sign of continued economic strengthening.
Data sources: Economic: Based on data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (unemployment, inflation);
U.S. Department of Commerce (GDP, corporate profits, retail sales, housing); S&P/Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index (home prices); Institute for Supply Management (manufacturing/services). Performance: Based on data reported in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/Bloomberg.com Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); http://www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates). News items are based on reports from multiple commonly available international news sources (i.e. wire services) and are independently verified when necessary with secondary sources such as government agencies, corporate press releases, or trade organizations. All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any investing strategy will be successful.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks. The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighted index composed of 2,000 U.S. small-cap common stocks. The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded blue-chip common stocks worldwide. The U.S. Dollar Index is a geometrically weighted index of the value of the U.S. dollar relative to six foreign currencies. Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.
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