First Quarter 2019 Recap
After logging their worst year since the financial crisis, U.S. equities posted blockbuster gains in the first quarter, sending the S&P 500 to its best three-month start to a year since 1998. The turnaround from oversold year-ending levels came amid reports of solid progress on U.S.-China trade talks and a dovish policy outlook from the Federal Reserve, signaling no further rate hikes this year. Equities also quickly stabilized after bond yields inverted earlier in March, with 10-year Treasury yields falling below those of short-term 3-month T-Bills, a development that can signal a recession. Stocks recovered on a belief that Asia’s rebound in factory activity and an eventual U.S.-China trade agreement will bolster global economies, and increase corporate profits.
- The S&P 500, Dow Industrials (+11.81%) and the Nasdaq Composite (+16.81%) respectively posted their strongest quarterly gains since the third quarter 2009.
- Markets calmed during the quarter, with the Cboe Volatility (VIX) Index falling 46% since the start of the year.
- The Bloomberg U.S. Dollar Index strengthened 1.25% in the first quarter.
The Quarterly Vantage Point is published by Cetera Investment Management LLC, an SEC-registered investment 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.
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