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The quarter went out with a whimper on Tuesday as the popular averages gave back most of the previous day’s gains. There may have been more window undressing by money managers than dressing. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended a slight loser for the quarter, while the NASDAQ Composite and S&P 500 were moderate winners. The Chicago purchasing managers saw manufacturing contracting in March but with a less pronounced decline than in February. The Conference Board indicated that consumer confidence has risen more than economists expected. Home prices were stable in January. The prices of crude oil and gold fell on Tuesday.

   Above is my 3-month chart of the S&P 500 exchange traded fund (SPY). As were the cases in October and December, the SPY price in early January fell under its 50-day moving average and then rebounded sharply back above. However, the fall back through it in mid-January briefly briefly caused concern. The price that week approached the levels of the mid-December and early January lows. The sharp bounce above that level on January 16 with supportive trading volume was a positive signal.

   After weakness in late January, the launch on February 2 from the 200-day-moving average to then close above the 50-day-moving average was most heartening. After a slight dip on February 4, the price shot nicely above the 50-day MA on February 5 to further inspire confidence. Despite drops on February 6 & 9, the SPY price held at that MA and then bounced nicely above on February 10, leading to a record closing high on March 2. After a correction earlier this month, the SPY price getting nicely back above its 50-day moving average began to appear encouraging. But the fall back under on March 24 caused some concern. The white line in the chart has provided support since early February. It stopped the decline on March 26. Springing above the 50-day MA on Monday was welcome, but the fall back under on Tuesday spoiled the mood.

   A new quarter commences on Wednesday. April is often a strong month for stocks. Pension managers will have fresh funds to put to work as the month begins. This could bode well.

DISCLAIMER: Our commentaries are provided as general information and not investment recommendations. You are responsible for your own investment decisions. Our opinions are based on historical research and data believed to be reliable. There is no guarantee that results will be profitable. We are not responsible for errors or omissions. We may hold positions in vehicles that are mentioned.

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© Curt Renz

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