Stocks Just Had Their Best Quarter Since 2013

02 October 2018  |  NEWS

Stocks dipped slightly last week, but still had their best quarter in almost five years.

The S&P 500 slid 0.5 percent between Friday, September 21, and Friday, September 28. It was only the third negative week in the last 13. The index’s 7.2 percent gain since the end of June represented its best quarterly return since the final three months of 2013. Fortunately, readers of Market Insights had a  good sense the rally was coming.

Last week’s price action was sharply divided between sectors. Value-oriented financials and materials got hammered after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell spoke of  tame inflation. His team of policymakers still hiked rates, punishing home builders.

But there were also green shoots.  Energy stocks rallied as sanctions on Iran drove oil to its highest price in more than three years. Biotechnology and medical devices led a stealth rally in the health-care sector. Momentum buyers returned to technology, especially software and video games.

Other economic news had little impact. Durable-goods orders were mixed. Initial jobless claims rose more than expected from extreme lows, possibly because of disruptions from Hurricane Florence.

Chart watchers studying the S&P 500 may notice the index had a bearish “ outside day” on Wednesday. (It made a lower low and a higher high than the previous session.) Does that signal a reversal, or did it merely result from uncertainty around the Fed? Technicians may be asking that question today.

Stocks Just Had_graph

S&P 500 chart with select patterns marked.

Medical-device maker Abiomed (ABMD) was the index’s top gainer last week, climbing 17 percent on positive data related to its Impella heart pumps. Biotech Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) was second-best, up 14 percent, on positive data related to its Soliris neurological drug.

Edwards Lifesciences (EW), another health-care name, took the No. 3 spot amid speculation it may be acquired by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ).

A.O. Smith (AOS) and Cboe (CBOE) weren’t so lucky. Their 11 percent weekly slides landed them at the bottom of the rankings. Tesla Motors (TSLA), a heavily traded name despite not being in the S&P 500, fell a similar amount after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused CEO Elon Musk of fraud. (He denies wrongdoing.)

This week brings monthly employment numbers and a couple of noteworthy earnings reports.

Today’s main item is the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index and the Census Bureau’s construction-spending report. Tomorrow brings a speech by Fed Chair Powell.

Wednesday’s items include ADP’s private-sector payrolls report, ISM’s services index and crude-oil inventories.

Constellation Brands (STZ) issues quarterly results Thursday morning. While normally a quiet name, it may draw some interest on the heels of its big investment in  cannabis producer Canopy Growth (CGC). Initial jobless claims are also due in the morning, with Costco (COST) earnings scheduled for the post-market.

The week concludes with the Labor Department’s non-farms payrolls report on Friday morning.

This article was written by David Russell, TradeStation Securities, Inc., part of the Monex Group Inc, published on 01/10/2018.

Risk Disclaimer: The information above is of general nature only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or investment needs. Prior to you make an investment decision, please make sure you carefully read and fully understand our Financial Services Guide, Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy and other relevant documents that you can obtain from this website. Monex Securities Australia Pty Ltd (AFSL No. 363972; ABN 84 142 210 179) is the Financial services provider. Financial products trading carries risks and may not be suitable for all investors. You are strongly recommended to seek independent financial advice before making any investment decisions.


Related Articles

“Sell in May and go away.” Will the old adage work this year?The S&P 500 fell 6.6 percent in May as geopolitical fears and weak earnings hammered sentiment. It was the first losing month of 20..

This podcast explores how companies like software makers and electronic payment firms are holding their ground despite the tariffs hammering other corners of technology. Listen for more...

Register For Demo Account

Find out how easy it is to invest in international markets and diversify your portfolio.