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-Darren Leavitt, CFA

Markets continued to rally, but the advance came on quiet trading volume. Robust economic data coupled with a solid economic outlook from JP Morgan’s CEO Jamie Diamond catalyzed buying.  First-quarter earnings start in earnest in the coming week, with the financials kicking us off.  It will be an exciting couple of months as strong corporate earnings expectations have fueled the market rally.   For the week, the S&P 500 gained 2.7%, the Dow added 2%, the NASDAQ outperformed with a 3.1% advance, and the Russell 2000 lagged with a loss of 0.5%.

Large-cap technology issues led the advance as US Treasury yields declined.  The 2-year note yield fell three basis points to 0.15%, while the 10-year bond yield fell four basis points to close at 1.67%.  The March FOMC meeting minutes confirmed that the Federal Reserve’s policy stance remains accommodative. Oil prices fell $2.12 to close at $59.21 a barrel.  Investors took profits in the energy sector throughout the week, making it the worst-performing sector.  Gold prices increased $14 to close at $1744.50 an Oz.

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