Market Perspective for March 30, 2020

Equities continued to rally on Monday, led by a 3.62-percent gain for the Nasdaq. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 Index both climbed more than 3 percent. Since bottoming last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has increased of 20.09 percent.

SPDR Healthcare (XLV) and SPDR Technology (XLK) were the leading sectors on Monday. XLV advanced 4.68 percent and XLK rose 4.21 percent. iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology (IBB) rallied 3.94 percent, iShares U.S. Healthcare Providers (IHF) 4.07 percent and SPDR S&P Pharma (XPH) 3.78 percent. Tech saw a similarly broad rally in its subsectors. iShares PHLX Semiconductor (SOXX) returned 3.48 percent and iShares Expanded Tech Software (IGV) 3.22 percent.

Pending home sales climbed 2.4 percent in February, yet another indicator the economy was on stable ground before the coronavirus pandemic.

Some early data from March comes out later this week. Economists predict motor vehicle sales fell from an annualized pace of 16.8 million in February to 11.0 million in March. They also expect the manufacturing PMI will slide to 44 percent from 50.1 percent.

Weekly jobless claims increased by 3.2 million in the week ended March 21. Analysts have not made a consensus forecast for this week yet, but it will be a closely watched report released Thursday.

Friday brings the March employment report. The consensus estimate calls for 25,000 lost jobs, down from a gain of 278,000 in February. Unemployment is expected to rise from 3.5 percent to 3.7 percent, and hourly wages to increase by 0.2 percent.

iShares MSCI EAFE (EFA) increased 2.02 percent on the day. iShares MSCI Emerging Markets (EEM) gained 1.65 percent. Emerging markets have greater exposure to commodities such as crude oil, which remain under pressure.

A few firms will report earnings this week. Among them are Carnival Corp (CCL), Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), CarMax (KMX), Chewy (CHWY), Constellation Brands (STZ), PVH Corp (PVH), NovaGold (NG) and Acuity Brans (AYI).

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