The Dow Is Having Its Best Year Since 1999 – Barron's

Illustration by Michael Haddad

Best Four Months. After spending most of the day in the red, both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to climb back into positive territory by the end of Tuesday. As of Tuesday’s close, the S&P 500 has gained 17.51% year to date, the best first four months of a year since 1987, when it gained 19.07%. The Dow is up 14% this year, its best start to a year since 1999 when it gained 17.51%.

General Electric stock (ticker: GE) rose 4.5% Tuesday on strong first-quarter earnings and other upbeat data.

The Nasdaq Composite, on the other hand, lost 0.7% on Tuesday, as Google’s parent company Alphabet (GOOGL) saw its worst trading day since 2012 after first-quarter sales disappointed.

Also in focus are the U.S.-China trade talks and a Federal Reserve statement on monetary policy due on Wednesday. In today’s After the Bell, we…

wonder if the Federal Reserve will cut rates this year; summarize today’s economic data; and check on the rising oil prices amid Venezuelan turmoil.

Will We See a Rate Cut?

All three major U.S. indexes closed not far from the break-even line on Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 38.52 points, or 0.15%, to close at 26,592.91. The S&P 500 added 2.80 points, or 0.10%, to end at 2945.83, and the Nasdaq Composite slipped 66.47 points, or 0.81%, to end at 8095.39.

The Federal Reserve will conclude its May policy meeting on Wednesday and release the latest statement on monetary policy. The fed-fund futures market is overwhelmingly predicting unchanged rates for this meeting.

However, some traders don’t think it will last long, given

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