Highlights from March 2019 – Best quarter for U.S. stocks; Lyft IPO; Irish stocks soar despite Brexit

Think the global economy is slowing? The equity markets don’t think so. The S&P 500 rose 13.1% in Quarter 1 (January to March), the largest quarterly gain since 2009 and the best start to a year since 1998.

The technology heavy NASDAQ index gained 17% as the S & P technology sector gained 19.3% during the quarter. Apple and Microsoft both gained over 16% during the quarter.

Irish (Republic of Ireland) stocks ended up 31% during the quarter. Do they know something about Brexit that we don’t? Hint: No Brexit or Brexit in name only …

Greek stocks were up 17.7% during the quarter followed by Italian stocks at 15.1%. Canadian stocks rose in line with their U.S. counterparts at 13.1%. Japanese stocks lagged gaining just 5.1% during the quarter.

The single biggest stock surprise of the quarter? Xerox with a gain of 62%. Every other stock would like to copy that performance …

In commodities, Crude oil soared 32% during the quarter followed by Brent at 27%. Agricultural commodities fell during the quarter.

Elsewhere, Boeing and Airbus probably saw their lowest net quarterly orders since the financial crisis. Global economy not flying so high then?

Meanwhile, taxi service (or technology unicorn – depends on your perspective) listed at $78 (IPO price was $72). The company was valued at $20.7 billion on the IPO price despite losing $900 million in 2018. Uber is set to list next at a valuation in excess of $100 billion. Slack, Pinterest and Zoom are set to follow and list shortly too. Tech boom or taking profits before the storm? Time will tell …


Here is what we wrote about in March,

The UK faces three immediate economic challenges irrespective of what happens with Brexit

Four charts on the U.S. Housing Market

The European Central Bank says interest rates would remain at record lows until the end of the year; Eurozone growth forecast slashed; New monetary stimulus TLTRO-III announced   

The average global central bank interest rate has barely changed over the past year

Household Net Worth in the United States saw its worst quarterly fall ever in Q4 2018

How big really is the total debt of the United States?

Is Europe the next Japan?

U.S. Federal Debt hit 105% of GDP in 2018, the highest since 1946 but …

The Federal Reserve does not expect an interest rate rise for the U.S. for the rest of 2019; Plus balance sheet management changes

Interest rates are headed downwards as global bond yields are falling quickly again

Chances of a U.S. recession? Our three U.S. recession indicators – how near or far are those from being invoked? March 2019 Edition

Are house prices in the U.S. really falling? March 2019 Edition


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