Market Recap for Week Ended April 6:
Earnings season optimism
First-quarter earnings reports are scheduled to begin coming in this week, and analysts are expecting the strongest quarterly profit growth in eight years, in part due to the new tax law and its reduction of corporate rates. Earnings for companies in the S&P 500 are expected to rise an average of 18% compared with the same quarter a year ago, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S Estimates.
On the heels of February’s big gain of 326,000 jobs, the March employment report was something of a disappointment. The economy generated 103,000 new jobs, far below economists’ expectations and the fewest in six months. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1% and wage growth was steady.
The price of bitcoin fell below $7,000 on Friday, the lowest level in five months. In mid-December, the cryptocurrency was trading above $19,000.
Dividend payments by companies in the S&P 500 climbed in the first quarter to their highest level ever, as net dividend increases rose nearly $19 billion from the same period a year earlier, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. For the 12-month period ended March 31, net dividend increases rose more than $45 billion.