The selloff continued Friday as we hit short term oversold levels. The S&P 500 fell 0.95% and the NASDAQ 1.34%. For the week, the S&P 500 fell 2.6% and the Nasdaq lost 3.1%, the biggest weekly decline for both indexes since June 2012. The market ignored a U.S. consumer sentiment reading that was a nine month high, with the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary April read on confidence coming in at 82.6 versus 80.0 in March.
Indexes more or less offset most of yesterday's knee jerk reaction losses to Yellen's comments. The S&P 500 gained 0.60% and the NASDAQ 0.27%. There were a bevy of economic reports: Existing home sales for February fell to 4.60 million compared to a 4.66 million estimate. Leading indicators rose 0.5 percent in February, versus estimates of a 0.4 percent rise, and the Philadelphia Fed's manufacturing gauge climbed to 9.0 in March from negative 6.3 the previous month.
A day after posting the worst day of the young year, markets posted their best day of the year. So while yesterday was a day to note due to the selling volume, it has been a fool's errand in the past year and few weeks to really make any distinct bets against this freight train. The S&P 500 gained 1.08% and the NASDAQ 1.69%. Positive data on retail sales led to a morning gap up, and momentum held all day.
U.S. indexes hit a lot of "round numbers" this morning - the Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed 16,000 and the S&P 500 1,800. We noted late last week that these round numbers sometimes mark near term tops but it is not necessarily the case. They could also mark a bit of a resting point and that is what happened today. Activist investor Carl Icahn spoke at a conference today and said he is "very cautious" on the stock market, saying he could see a "big drop" because earnings at many companies are fueled more by low borrowing costs rather than the strength of management. This caused a round of selling in the afternoon but really just took some froth out of the market. The S&P 500 fell 0.37% and the NASDAQ 0.93%. One item to note overseas is China relaxing its "one child" policy - that pushed the Shanghai index up nearly 3%.
Stocks were mixed again Tuesday as the S&P 500 fell for the 4th straight session. What looked like a promising intraday reversal petered out in the last hour as stocks sold off quite sharply erasing decent gains. The S&P 500 fell 0.26% while the NASDAQ gained 0.08%. Financials continue to be an issue as the Wall Street Journal reported that JPMorgan has offered to pay $3 billion to the Justice Department to settle a number of pending probes, including a case relating to the sale of residential mortgage-backed securities from 2005 to 2007. This weighed on the sector.