Stocks finished off a rough week with mild losses; the S&P 500 gave back 0.28% and the NASDAQ 0.35%. That said this was the first weekly loss for the NASDAQ in six weeks so it was overdue. This Sunday is a vote in Crimea on whether to join Russia so some attribute the weakness to ongoing geopolitical worries. In economic news:
A preliminary report from Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan had consumer sentiment at 79.9 in March versus an 82 estimate. Oroducer prices unexpectedly fell last month, with the 0.1 percent decline in the producer-price index coming after a 0.2 percent climb in January, the Labor Department said.
The S&P 500 remains back below those highs hit late last year and early this year.
The volatility index continued to spike today; generally when this reverses hard we have hit at least a short term bottom.
One are sticking out in the positive column are utilities; however this is a “safety” sector and not one you usually want to see standing out to the upside by itself. Here is the ETF for the group:
We’ve talked about gold the past few weeks, but the gold miners are also ripping higher – short term they seem to be very overbought but perhaps this year they will fare better than last over the intermediate term. Here is the ETF for the group:
On the negative side we noted some weakness in biotechs for the first time in quite a while over the past week – today that continued; see Celgene (CELG) and Gilead Sciences (GILD). This has been the GO TO group for large cap momentum investing for early 2 years so it is difficult to see a great market with these type of names acting poorly; today’s weakness seems to be patent related.
If you have not heard about the Warren Buffet NCAA basketball challenge here is some information:
“I should be institutionalized,” Warren Buffett joked on CNBC Friday—talking about how he’s feeling about Berkshire Hathaway’s part in insuring a contest by Quicken Loans to offer a billion dollars for the perfect March Madness bracket. Buffett said in CNBC interview that the odds are much better than just a coin-flip on each game—which would yield about a 1 in 9 quintillion chance in winning. Quicken Loans said the billion-dollar prize would be shared by any qualified contest participant who predicts the winners of every game. Yahoo Sports designed the online bracket experience, and it’s hosting the destination for the challenge. The first 15 million qualified entrants to complete the registration process will be eligible to win the billion dollars. The window to enter closes at 1 a.m. EDT on Thursday, March 20.
Have a good weekend and we’ll see you back here Monday.