The markets shrugged off what was mostly disappointing economic news to finish slightly higher for the week. Headlining the negative news were weak employment and manufacturing numbers while geopolitical tensions continue to persist despite a tentative agreement with Iran on their nuclear program. Details from last week’s Labor Department report showed nonfarm payroll jobs grew only 126,000 in March (far fewer than expected which marked the smallest gain since Dec. 2013), a continued dip in workforce participation, and unemployment steady at 5.5%. ISM Manufacturing and factory orders were also reported last week showing a slowing pace of growth in the manufacturing sector … consistent with other indicators from the past few weeks (Durable Goods Orders). All of this seemingly negative news will likely push out the next Fed rate hike (good news for equity investors).
For the week, the S&P500 finished up 0.58% closing at 2,067 while the DJIA was up 0.53% finishing at 17,763. Smaller US companies measured by the Russell 2000 finished up 1.99% which continues to be aided by a stronger US Dollar. International markets also had a positive week, with the MSCI EAFE finishing up slightly at 0.01% and MSCI EM up 3.20%. The yield on the 10yr Treasury finished lower this week at a yield of 1.92%.
This past Tuesday marked the end of the 1st quarter which means two things: 1) Our Investment Committee at ND&S is putting the finishing touches on our 2015 1st Qtr Newsletter. 2) The Azaleas will be in full bloom at Augusta National Golf Club as The Master’s begins this Thursday.
“You swing your best when you have the fewest things to think about.”– Bobby Jones