dglobalnews.com Stocks end 1Q with solid gains after day of listless trading
Published: Sun, April 02, 2017
Markets | By Armando Jensen

Stocks end 1Q with solid gains after day of listless trading


March 31 USA stocks were little changed on Friday, with the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average firmly on course to book their biggest first-quarter gains in four years.

A strong quarter for USA markets ended on a weak note.

The S&P 500 Information Technology Sector has gained almost 12.5% since January, making it the best-performing sector over the past three months. Since the start of the year, the S&P 500 is up 5.7 per cent, its best quarterly performance since 2015.

The S&P 500 index closed down 5.34 points, or 0.2%, at 2,362.72, with financial and telecom stocks weighing on the index. JPMorgan Chase fell 1.32 percent and Wells Fargo & Co lost 0.78 percent. The Nasdaq fell 2.61 points to 5,911.74. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 6 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 1,388.

The S&P 500 Index ended trading down 0.2 per cent to 2362.72.

For the month, the Nasdaq rose 1.7%, its fifth straight advance - leaving it up more than 21% over the past 12 months. And the Russell 2000 is on pace for its fourth quarterly gain in a row.

The S&P 500 posted 16 new 52-week highs and 1 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 87 new highs and 15 new lows. The stock shed 13 cents to $4.96.

The Nasdaq is up 528.62 points, or 9.8 percent. Meanwhile, the Fed-watched PCE inflation index rose 2.1% for the 12-month period ending in February, marking the strongest growth in almost five years.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) spent the entire session trading lower, weighed down by a sharp decline for energy stock Exxon Mobil - even as oil prices recovered from earlier losses. The stock added $5.22 to $37.96.

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US markets ended higher in Thursday's session, with financials leading the way, as investors digested economic figures & facts and eyed oil prices. DuPont shares fell $1.31, or 1.6 per cent, to $80.33.

-The MSCI Emerging Market index slipped 0.3 percent.

-German bonds gained, with the yield on 10-year bonds dropping by around one basis point after inflation in Europe's largest economy decelerated more than forecast in March.

By the close, crude for May delivery was up 84 cents, or 1.7%, at $50.35 per barrel - its highest close in three weeks. Brent crude, used to price global oils, added 12 cents to $53.25. The DJIA is poised to add almost 5%, which would be its sixth-straight positive quarter and the longest winning streak since the fourth quarter of 2006.

CURRENCIES: The euro strengthened to $1.0697 from $1.0691 on Thursday. The dollar fell to 110.72 yen from 111.60 yen.

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