Dow posts biggest quarterly comeback since 1933

Cashin: Terrific turnaround
Cashin: Terrific turnaround
Q2 catch-up trades
Q2 catch-up trades
Laggards to leaders
Laggards to leaders

After tumultuous trading in early 2016, two of the three major U.S. averages clawed back to finish the first quarter in the green.

At one point in the quarter, the major indexes plunged more than 11 percent from the start of the year. They rebounded, though, and enjoyed particularly strong runs in March.

The Dow Jones industrial average saw its biggest quarterly comeback since 1933.

The and the Dow both rose for the second-straight quarter, finishing 0.8 and 1.5 percent higher, respectively. The S&P enjoyed gains of 6.6 percent in March, while the Dow climbed 7.1 percent for the month.

The Nasdaq, meanwhile, had its first negative first quarter since 2009, falling 2.8 percent. But the index also recovered in March, rising 6.8 percent.

Early volatility drove investors to gold, and the metal posted its best quarter in about 30 years. Gold prices rose 16.5 percent in the first quarter.

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Check out more stats:

  • WTI crude oil rose 3.5 percent for its first positive quarter in the last three.
  • The dollar index dipped 4.1 percent, marking its worst quarter since the third quarter of 2010 when it fell 8.49 percent.
  • Financials and health care endured their worst first quarter since the financial crisis, sliding 5.6 and 5.9 percent, respectively.
  • Utilities had their best first quarter on record.
  • Telecom also did well, having its best first quarter since 1998.
  • Verizon and Caterpillar led the Dow, with gains of 17 percent and 12.6 percent, respectively.
  • Goldman Sachs and Boeing lost the most in the Dow, shedding 12.9 and 12.2 percent of their value, respectively.
  • Commodities stocks Freeport-McMoRan and Newmont Mining enjoyed the strongest quarters in the S&P, rising 52.7 and 47.8 percent, respectively.
  • Endo International and Williams Cos. were the worst S&P performers, with losses of 54 and 37.5 percent, respectively.

— CNBC's Gina Francolla and Christopher Hayes contributed to this report.