Stocks closed mixed in a quiet session Friday, but the Dow and S&P logged their best quarterly gain in almost 14 years. The Nasdaq posted its best quarterly performance since 1991.
Stocks traded higher for most of the session, fueled by a handful of better-than-expected economic news and after the euro zone agreed to raise its bailout fund.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended higher, logging its sixth-consecutive month of gains in addition to a stellar first quarter.
The S&P 500 also finished higher, but the Nasdaq slipped in the final minutes of trading to log its fourth-consecutive day of losses. Still, the Nasdaq posted its best quarterly performance since 1991.
The CBOE Volatility Index, widely considered the best gauge of fear in the market, ended above 15.
For the quarter, the Dow jumped 8.14 percent, the S&P 500 surged 12.00 percent, and the Nasdaq soared 18.67 percent. Among the Dow components, BofA skyrocketed nearly 72 percent for the quarter, while H-P slumped more than 7 percent.
Financials were the best S&P sector performers for the quarter, shortly followed by techs. Utilities were in the red.
Despite the stellar runup in the major averages over the last six months, Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management says the market environment “remains very good.”
“I’d look to change allocations from stocks that have done really well in the first quarter and move a little capital to stocks that have trailed a little bit,” suggested Paulsen. “[Eventually,] I think we’re going to get a correction at some point, but it’s going to be hard to call.”
Still, Paulsen maintains his 1,500 target on the S&P 500 for the year.
European shares ralliedafter the euro zone raised the combined lending ceiling for their two bailout funds to 700 billion eurosfrom 500 billion, according to the region's finance ministers.
Spain said it will try to save more than 27 billion eurosin its budget this year through corporate taxes, halting civil servant wages and ministerial spending cuts, according to government officials.