A year after the U.S. stock market cratered in the Covid-19 crash, the S&P 500 ended the month of March at a fresh record high. All in all, the U.S. benchmark index has gained more than 77% in the year since the March 2020 bottom.
Nevertheless, March wasn’t exactly a smooth ride. Concerns about the potential for higher inflation, rising bond yields and the collapse of the investment fund Archegos Capital drove a fair amount of volatility in stock prices. Aside from these worries, the year already is off to a solid start: Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 posted a fourth straight quarter of gains, with the two indexes rising 7.8% and 5.8% in the first quarter of 2020, respectively.
Looking ahead to April, investors want tangible proof the economic recovery is firmly taking root. Earnings season—the multi-week period when public companies report their quarterly results—gets started mid-month, and market participants want to see momentum carry over from the fourth quarter of 2020, notes Tim Courtney, chief investment officer of Exencial Wealth Advisors.