Market Update: Wednesday, April 12, 2017

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  • Stocks continue treading water. (10:06am ET) Major indexes are again starting off on a cautious note as traders appetite for risk remains subdued. The S&P 500 fell -0.1% on Tuesday but finished well off the day’s lows; marginal gains in industrials (+0.2) and consumer staples (+0.1) were offset by losses in the heavily-weighted technology (-0.4%) and healthcare (-0.2%) sectors. Asian markets saw a repeat of the prior day’s action with the Hang Seng (+0.9%) and Shanghai Composite (-0.5%) moving in opposite directions while a strengthening yen again dragged down the Nikkei (-1.0%). Sentiment in Europe is better, though the STOXX 600 (+0.3%) is drifting away from early-session highs. WTI crude oil ($53.46/barrel) is getting a boost on hopes that Saudi Arabia will look to extend supply cuts set to expire next month, COMEX gold ($1277/oz.) is up another 0.3% on safe haven moves, while the yield on 10-year notes is little changed at 2.30%.

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  • Oil rises for the eighth straight day. Private inventory data released Tuesday afternoon showed a 1.3 million barrel drawdown versus 1.5 million expected, ahead of the Energy department data today. The inventory data, supply disruptions in Libya and Canada, the Syria-driven increase in geopolitical tensions, and reports that the Saudis will agree to extend production curbs through the second half of the year have fueled oil’s winning streak. We have a bias toward higher oil prices over the balance of the year though the likely U.S. production response may cap crude’s gains in the mid-to-high $50s and lead to volatility which keeps our view neutral on the energy sector currently.
  • Mixed JOLTS report. The Labor Department’s latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) revealed a 2.1% increase in job openings in February to 5.743 million, the highest level since July 2016 and the fourth highest level since the end of the Great Recession. Hires fell 2% month over month but remained near the best levels of the expansion. Year over year, openings were up 3.2% and hires were up only 2.4%, which points to employers’ ongoing difficulty finding the right skills to fill job openings. The current spread between openings and hiring, at 429K, is the widest in five months. A slight 0.1% downtick in the quit rate, to 2.1%, likely reflects the tempered wage environment in addition to the skills mismatch that is capping the number of quits. Overall, the report suggests there is still some slack in the labor market.
  • Support at the 50-day. The S&P 500 Index was red the entire day yesterday, ending a streak of 18 consecutive days it was both green and red on an intraday basis. The encouraging news is that it closed well off the session lows yesterday and once again found support near its upward trending 50-day moving average. In fact, it has now closed above this trendline for 105 consecutive days, the longest streak since 130 days nearly six years ago. Last, the S&P 500 hasn’t closed up or down 0.35% or more for 10 consecutive days; December 1968 being the last time that happened. In other words, the past 10 trading days have been one of the most boring two week stretches in history for equities.
  • When will the April positive seasonality start? As we noted at the start of the month, historically April has been one of the better months for the S&P 500. In fact, over the past 20 years, it has been the best performing month with an average return of 2.0%. Now what is interesting about April is the majority of the gains take place during the second half of the month. In fact, as of April 14th, the S&P 500 is up 0.2% for the month on average the past 20 years. Given it historically averages 2.0% for the full month, that tells you when most of the gains take place. Today on the LPL Research blog we will take a closer look at this phenomena.

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Important Disclosures

Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.

Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal.

Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks.

Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better.

Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk.

Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies.

Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments.

Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate.

Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards.

High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors.

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Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained.

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