- Stocks poised to hold weekly gains. (10:30am ET) U.S. equities are flat to begin Friday’s session, though on track for a weekly rebound after last week’s slide, as investors await data on industrial production and leading economic indicators. Utilities (-1.1%) and healthcare (-0.9%) led most S&P sectors lower Thursday, although heavily-weighted financials (+0.3%) and technology (+0.2%) helped mitigate the S&P 500 (-0.2%) loss. Overnight, Asian markets were mixed as the KOSPI (+0.7%) continued to gain ground following the ouster of South Korea’s president, while the Shanghai Composite (-1.0%) and Nikkei (-0.4%) both closed lower. In Europe, shares are modestly higher in afternoon trading as bullish sentiment carries over from the last several days. Elsewhere, WTI crude oil ($48.82/barrel) is up slightly, COMEX gold ($1228/oz.) is holding onto recent gains, and Treasury strength continues this week as the yield on the 10-year note has dipped slightly to 2.51%.
- Saint Patrick likes green. Here’s a fun stat: the S&P 500 has historically done well on St. Patrick’s Day. Makes sense, as a day that celebrates green should have some green. As we noted on the LPL Research blog earlier this week, over the past 20 years, the S&P 500 has been higher 80% of the time; only seven days of the year have been up more often. In addition, March 17 has been up 0.72% on average the past 20 years, ranking as the sixth-best day of the year. Lastly, in the last 65 years, the S&P has been red only once when St. Patrick’s Day lands on a Friday.
- A look at sentiment. Recent sentiment surveys paint a mixed picture: the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) Sentiment Survey had more bulls than bears for the second week in a row, and the National Association of Active Investment Managers (NAAIM) reported its lowest exposure to equities since the week of the U.S. election. This illustrates a tempered sense of optimism among investors – we aren’t seeing the over-the-top exuberance evident at past market peaks.
Monitoring the Week Ahead
- Index of Leading Indicators (Feb)
- G20 Finance Ministers Meeting in Germany
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The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted.
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