After starting the year with a record-breaking quarter, stocks finally appear to be taking a much-needed breather. While the market is certainly due for a pullback, at least one legendary investor believes investors should run for the hills.
In the first three months of the year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSEARCA:DIA) and S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) gained 11.3 percent and 10 percent, respectively. These are impressive gains for a 12-month period, let alone just one quarter. The Dow logged 10 record-setting closes in March, and both indices broke their previous closing highs made more than five years ago.
With the Federal Reserve juicing markets higher amid historic amounts of liquidity, the new year brought renewed hope of an economic recovery. House prices are up double digits from year-ago levels, and unemployment rates continue to decline. However, recent reports are reminding Mr. Market that the fundamentals are still sluggish at best.
Here’s how the main U.S. stock indexes did on Monday:
The Commerce Department recently reported that the U.S. economy expanded at a dismal 0.4 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter, the slowest pace since the first quarter of 2011. The world’s largest economy is expected to show more growth in the first quarter, but the Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index declined last month to 51.3, compared to 54.2 in February. This is barely above stall speed, as a reading below 50 indicates contraction. Meanwhile, employers added only 88,000 jobs last month, the smallest gain in nine months and well below estimates calling for 190,000 jobs.
Central banks gone wild…