The rally train rolls on as stocks open 2Q on a positive note, trudging higher but finishing well below session peaks.
Encouraging March employment report, ISM manufacturing generally as expected and decent auto sales prod markets higher. NY Fed’s Dudley also helps sentiment, countering recent hawkish tone from some Fed officials with market-reassuring dovish language of his own.
Again, volume not especially impressive, particularly considering the first day of a new month and quarter. Looked as if bulls might fade in final hour, but had enough kick to finish fine.
DJIA adds another 56.99 to 12376.72; earlier reached highest intraday level since early June 2008. Nasdaq Comp rises 8.53 to 2789.60, S&P 500 ends 6.58 higher at 1332.41.
Kind of quiet for economic data next week, FOMC minutes due out Tuesday could be interesting but not necessarily market moving. Otherwise, week’s peppered with some Fedspeak, expect them to continue guiding expectations toward a QE II finish in June and then no more.
Alcoa kicks off 1Q earnings reporting season a week from Monday, and commentary/outlooks from corporate America may serve as the next test for stocks. Can’t rely on Fed liquidity forever, eventually the investment story needs to come back to the pace of profit growth and margin expansion. Will executives have enough faith in the economy’s forward momentum to pick up hiring and capex, or will they stay cautious and focused on controlling costs in a wait-and-see mode?
(Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress)