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Apr 04, 2023

March 2023

Stocks posted a positive March with the exception of the small-cap Russell 2000 index. The NASDAQ surged 6.8%, the S&P 500 propelled 3.7% higher, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average notched up 2.1%. Equities also finished Q1 in the black across the board, with the NASDAQ’s 17.1% quarterly advance leading the way. The NASDAQ has outperformed other major US indices in all three months of 2023, a sign of renewed favor for growth stocks. The Russell 2000 fell 4.8% for its second consecutive monthly decline.

The NASDAQ’s advance was in large part thanks to the Technology and Communication Services sectors. Technology jumped 10.9% higher in March, while Communication Services rose 8.7%. Stocks from these two sectors comprised all ten of the S&P 500’s top stocks in March. The biggest laggard in March was Financials, which plummeted 9.6% as a result of the fallout surrounding Silicon Valley Bank and First Republic Bank (FRC). The S&P 500’s ten worst performers in March were all stocks from the Financial sector as well.

US Existing Home Sales ended a year-long streak of monthly declines by soaring 14.5% in February. US New Single-Family Home Sales also rose in February by 1.1%, good for its third consecutive monthly increase. Gold nearly exceeded $2,000 per ounce in March, while both Brent and WTI oil prices continued to decline, each down over 41% from their March 2022 highs. The US ISM Manufacturing PMI sank deeper into contraction territory, sitting at 46.3 as of February’s end.

US Treasury yields retraced in March following a February where the 6-Month and 1-Year Treasury Bills eclipsed 5% for the first time since July 2007. The 2-Year note dipped the most across the curve, down 75 basis points in March, while only the 1-Month T-Bill increased last month. Long-term bonds around the world also saw yields decline in March, though not as severely as US instruments.

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