U.S. stocks rose on Thursday, with major indexes climbing in a broad advance as technology and energy shares led gains.
Even so, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 index remained on track to break a lengthy string of quarterly gains. A battering for tech stocks, last year’s leading performers, has weighed on performance.
Trading for the week, for March, and the first quarter will wrap up at the end of Thursday’s session, as stock markets will be shut for Good Friday.
What are the main benchmarks doing?
The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA,[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]+1.07% rose 224 points, or 0.9%, to 24,073. The S&P 500 SPX,[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]+1.18% rose 27 points to 2,632, a gain of 1%. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP,[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]+1.40% rose 78 points, or 1.1%, to 7,029, seeing a partial rebound from steep losses in the previous session
For the week, the Dow is looking at a gain of 2.3% while the S&P 500 is up 1.1%. The Nasdaq is up 0.5% on the week.
For the month of March, all three are looking at steep declines, with the Dow off 3.8%, the S&P 500 off 3% and the Nasdaq off 3.4%. For the first quarter, the Dow has lost 2.6% and the S&P is off 1.5%. Both fell into correction territory in the quarter, and are poised to end lengthy winning streaks.
The Nasdaq is up 1.8% for the first quarter.
But techs weren’t the only source of pain this month. Fears of global trade war and a possibly stepped-up pace of interest rate rises by the U.S. Federal Reserve have clipped stocks. Trump’s tone on trade worried many after his administration slapped tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, and it considered taking aim at Chinese imports via similar duties.
What are strategists saying?
“The fact that all the high-growth names have been taken to the woodshed lately is a good sign for value managers. I don’t know if there’s more room for the group to fall, but I do think we’ll start to see a differentiation, where some growth companies will get a pass and others will face a much closer eye from investors,” said Charlie Smith, chief investment officer at Pittsburgh-based Fort Pitt Capital Group.
Smith added that he felt markets didn’t look expensive, and that he wasn’t concerned about the prospect of protectionist trade policy coming out of the White House or Trump’s attacks against Amazon.
“Trump is way more bark than bite. Eighty percent of what he says never happens, and the other 20% is usually an opening gambit that’s way out of left field. That can throw the market for a loop, but if anything does happen, the change to trade policy or whatever else probably won’t be as big as some people are thinking,” he said.
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