Finally, stocks back on track
NEW YORK — After two months of trading, the stock market is back where it started.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 4.3 percent in February, the biggest gain since October 2013, helped by strong corporate earnings and a Federal Reserve that seems to have Wall Street's back at every turn. But the rise in February must be taken in the context that investors spent the month making up the ground they lost in January.
“February looked a lot like January, just moving in the opposite direction,” said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist with Brown Brothers Harriman Wealth Management.
Investors are also now staring at a stock market, while numbers-wise is basically where it was on Jan. 1, that is a lot more defensive than it was two months ago.
Utilities and health care stocks — two traditional “safe” places for investors because of their low volatility and higher-than-average dividends — are the biggest gainers so far this year. Utilities are up 5.7 percent in 2014 and health care is up 6.6 percent.
Investor caution was also evident in the bond market, which has done reasonably well in the last two months. The yield on the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury note has fallen from 2.97 percent to 2.65 percent in the last two months as investors returned to the relative safety of government debt. The Barclays U.S. Aggregate bond indexis up 1.6 percent this year.
“The sentiment is, ‘Bonds may not be as bad as I originally thought,' ” said Michael Fredericks, portfolio manager of Multi-Asset Income Fund at Blackrock.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Energy companies vie for experienced workers with skills in high demand
- Energy-saving tactics pay off in Green Workplace Challenge
- Energy Spotlight: Adam Pope
- Chevron laying off 162 workers from Moon-based unit
- Former athletes open businesses
- Auto review: Yaris has European flair, efficiency, affordability
- Global markets await European rescue plan
- Workarounds exist for battery woes
- Password change can block hackers from wireless cameras
- U.S. Steel plans to close two plants affecting 545 workers
- News keeps getting better at the pump, as national average nears $2 a gallon