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Bob Carey
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  US Stocks Week Ended April 5, 2012
Posted Under: Weekly Market Commentary
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Last week the S&P 500 Index got off to a good start with the first trading day of April returning a positive 0.76%. However, the first week of April not only brought the second worst performing day of the year with Thursday's return of -1.02%, but also the worst week of the year with a -0.67% return. Thursday's drop was mainly due to European concerns rising again after the Spanish debt auction came at notably higher yields. Investors' concerns continue as Spanish and Italian sovereign spreads widened further. In US economic news, initial jobless claims decreased the past week to 357K from 359K the prior week with a consensus of 355K. Claims are still coming in lower than in the previous three years with claims peaking at 659K in late March 2009. Initial jobless claims haven't been this low since early 2008. Non-farm payrolls for March came in at 120K, well below the consensus of 205K. This is the smallest increase in payrolls in five months. Also, the February payroll number was revised upward to 240K from 227K. The University of Michigan Survey of Consumer Confidence Sentiment came in at 76.2 for March. The only two positive performing sectors for the week were telecommunication services up 0.09% and information technology up 0.07%. The energy sector performed the worst of all ten sectors returning -1.80%. Other weak performing sectors were financials and materials returning -1.63% and -1.40% respectively. Avon Products, a direct seller of beauty products, turned in the best performance in the S&P 500 with a 20.97% return for the week. This increase can be attributed to Monday's offer to purchase Avon Products by Coty Inc. at a 20% premium over the previous week's closing price. The next best performer was Bed Bath & Beyond with a return of 9.24%. American International Group, Apple and priceline.com all returned over 5.00% for the week. Next week will bring more earnings news from companies such as Alcoa, Google, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.
Posted on Monday, April 9, 2012 @ 8:21 AM • Post Link Share: 
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These posts were prepared by First Trust Advisors L.P., and reflect the current opinion of the authors. They are based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security.
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