Stocks Narrowly Higher – Weekly Update

April 1, 2024 | By Steven DiGregorio

Stocks were narrowly higher for the week as investors digested mixed economic news about consumer confidence. All three of the major averages posted gains for Q1 2024.

Stocks Finish Strong

Markets slipped for the first half of the four-day week as investors took a breather after the prior week’s gain. Conflicting economic news on Monday and Tuesday contributed to the slide. New home sales in February slipped 0.3 percent over the prior month but increased by 5.9 percent from the prior year. Durable goods orders—everything from washing machines to helicopters—rebounded 1.4 percent in February, beating expectations and recouping some of January’s 6.9 percent drop.1,2,3

Stocks rallied on Wednesday, including a fresh record close for the Standard & Poor’s 500. An upward revision to consumer sentiment on Thursday helped the rally along. The markets were closed on Friday when the much-anticipated inflation report called the Personal Consumption and Expenditures (PCE) was released.4

Doubters & Believers

Getting a straightforward read on consumers this week was challenging. The Conference Board reported on Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index remained essentially unchanged—as it has for the past six months—showing consumers were generally pessimistic about the future.

But on Thursday, the University of Michigan’s consumer-sentiment survey showed consumer confidence hit a 2½-year high in March. It suggested that consumers had gained more confidence that inflation would drop and alleviate some pressure on household finances. 5,6

This Week: Key Economic Data

Monday: ISM Manufacturing Index. PMI Manufacturing Final. Construction Spending.
Tuesday: Motor Vehicle Sales. Factory Orders. JOLTS.
Wednesday: ADP Employment Report. EIA Petroleum Status Report. ISM Services Index.
Thursday: Jobless Claims. International Trade in Goods & Services. Fed Balance Sheet. Natural Gas Report.
Friday: Employment Situation. Consumer Credit.

Source: Investors Business Daily – Econoday economic calendar; March 27, 2024
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision.

This Week: Companies Reporting Earnings

Tuesday: Paychex, Inc. (PAYX)
Wednesday: Levi Strauss & Co. (LEVI)
Thursday: Conagra Brands (CAG)

Source: Zacks, March 27, 2024
Companies mentioned are for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of the securities. Investing involves risks, and investment decisions should be based on your own goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk. The return and principal value of investments will fluctuate as market conditions change. When sold, investments may be worth more or less than their original cost. Companies may reschedule when they report earnings without notice.

Box upload

Source: YCharts.com, March 30, 2024. Weekly performance is measured from Friday, March 22, to Thursday, March 28.
ROC 5 = the rate of change in the index for the previous 5 trading days.
TR = total return for the index, which includes any dividends as well as any other cash distributions during the period.
Treasury note yield is expressed in basis points.

Footnotes and Sources

1. The Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2024
2. CNBC.com, March 25, 2024
3. Reuters, March 26, 2024
4. CNBC.com, March 26, 2024
5. MarketWatch.com, March 28, 2024
6. The Conference Board, March 26, 2024


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Tags: Consumer Confidence, DJIA, NASDAQ, Record Highs, S&P 500

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STEVEN M DIGREGORIO is President of Compass Asset Management Group, LLC and an Investment Advisor Representative with Spire Wealth Management, LLC.
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