U.S. equities finished solidly higher in March, with the Dow Industrials and S&P 500 broadly outperforming the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite and the small cap-focused Russell 2000. The benchmark S&P 500 ended the first quarter with its strongest monthly performance since November, capping its fourth consecutive quarterly gain since its near-20% pandemic-induced quarterly loss a year ago. Moreover, economically sensitive cyclicals and value groups notably outperformed growth & momentum for the month and quarter.
Upside catalysts and forecasts blossomed, including an accelerated pace of COVID-19 vaccinations and business reopening’s. Nearly 100 million Americans have received at least one vaccine dosage, helping death and hospitalization rates trend lower.
- The S&P 500 ended the quarter less than two points below its March 26 all-time high of 3,974.54 - and just over 27 points away from a new 4,000 milestone.
- In March, the Dow Industrials gained 6.78% and the Nasdaq Composite rose just 0.48%.
- For the quarter, the Dow Industrials added 2,375 points (+8.29%) and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 2.95%.
- Since plunging to the pandemic bear market-low a year ago, the S&P 500 has risen 80.7%, and the Nasdaq Composite has surged 94.7%.
- U.S. crude oil futures fell 3.8% in March, while surging 21.9% through the end of the first quarter. U.S. crude has now fully erased its COVID-19-related pullback.
The Quarterly Recap is published by Cetera Investment Management LLC, an SEC registered adviser owned by Cetera Financial Group. Cetera Investment Management provides market perspectives, portfolio guidance, model management, and other investment advice to its affiliated broker-dealers, dually registered broker-dealers and registered investment advisers.
Want more insights like this, sent straight to your inbox?
Subscribe to email updates from Cetera and be well informed about what’s happening within the market and the financial services industry overall.