Stocks continue to head north this week with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (chart) flirting with an all time high. For the week, the Dow (chart) closed up 0.64% just 74 points away from notching a record, the Nasdaq (chart) finished the week up 0.25%, the S&P 500 (chart) +0.17% and the small-cap Russell 2000 (chart) closed the week out basically flat. Looking at the year to date performances of these key indices and you will see eye-popping gains of 7.52%, 4.98%, 6.45% and 7.70% respectively.
This wasn’t the case on Monday when the markets nerves were tested with fears of instability out of Italy and the ongoing sequester uncertainty here at home. This sent stocks spiraling with the Dow shredding over 200 points. However, true to its form, stocks regained their footing on Tuesday and throughout the rest of the week once again demonstrating how resilient equities are in this Fed friendly environment. Even Gold bounced off of its recent lows to close at $1572.30 a troy ounce, although still trending downward.
Looking ahead to next week, I am cautiously optimistic that we could see a record on the Dow with the caveat of headline risks out of Washington. If the sequester issue does not get some type of formidable resolution out of Congress, we will most likely see consumer confidence rattled and market confidence challenged. Chances are neither side of the aisle wants to be held responsible for the looming automatic spending cuts which in turn would be a serious blow to our fragile economy. Nonetheless, it would be wise to tread these markets carefully and make sure to always consider using protective stops in your portfolio. Good luck to all.
Have a great weekend and profitable March 🙂