Dow Jones Industrial Average Ends Monster Month on a Whimper

A Trio of 2Q All-Stars

by Alex Eppstein

Published on Mar 31, 2016 at 4:29 PM
Updated on Mar 31, 2016 at 4:38 PM

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) wavered on the last trading day of March and the first quarter, eventually resolving to the downside. It seemed traders took a wait-and-see approach toward stocks ahead of tomorrow's nonfarm payrolls report, as they digested a mixed round of economic data. That said, the Dow still held on for its biggest monthly gain since October, while the broader S&P 500 Index (SPX) snapped a three-month losing streak. 

Continue reading for more on today's market, including:

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA - 17,685.09) slid 31.6 points, or 0.2%, but ended the month and quarter up 7.1% and 1.5%, respectively. One-third of the Dow's 30 components settled in the green, with International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) at the top of the heap, over 2% higher. On the flip side, the 20 blue-chip laggards were led lower by Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), down 1.4%.

The S&P 500 Index (SPX - 2,059.74) lost 4.2 points, or 0.2%, trimming its monthly and quarterly advances to a respective 6.6% and 0.8%. However, the Nasdaq Composite (COMP - 4,869.85) broke from the pack -- albeit barely -- inching 0.6 point higher. For all of March, the COMP soared 6.8%, but it finished the quarter on a 2.7% loss.

The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX - 13.95) added 0.4 point, or 2.9%. On a monthly and quarterly basis, the market's "fear gauge" plunged 32.1% and 23.4%, respectively.

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5 Items on Our Radar Today:

  1. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is expanding its Dash Button to more than 100 products, from Doritos to Energizer batteries. "What we've heard from customers is they want more," said Daniel Rausch, who heads up Dash. "Brands have been clamoring to be in the program." (The New York Times)

  2. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, speaking for a second straight day, said the central bank's caution in raising interest rates is meant to avoid the type of "deflationary malaise" Japan has experienced. "Inflation has been quite low and that is really the reason continued caution is called for," Evans explained. (MarketWatch)

  3. April historically hasn't been kind to these 20 stocks.

  4. Will the government do for GE Capital what it's already done for Metlife Inc (NYSE:MET)?

  5. A number of catalysts helped Fitbit Inc (NYSE:FIT) bounce back big.


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Data courtesy of Trade-Alert

Commodities:

Crude futures moved higher on a weaker dollar and a drawdown in stockpiles at a key Oklahoma delivery hub. On the day, oil for May delivery added 2 cents to settle at $38.34 per barrel. For the month and quarter, liquid gold jumped 13.6% and 3.5%, respectively.

Weakness in the greenback also boosted June-dated gold, which added $7, or 0.8%, to close at $1,235.60 per ounce. On a monthly basis, the malleable metal advanced less than 0.1%, but on the quarter, it soared 16.5% -- its strongest quarter since 1986.


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