Market Insider

This could entice buyers to jump into stocks this week

Closing Bell Exchange: Earnings are getting better, is it Trump?
Closing Bell Exchange: Earnings are getting better, is it Trump?

The first quarter comes to an end this week, and that could bring in buyers looking for bargains in some of the beaten-down sectors but also among the winners.

In fact, end-of-quarter buyers may have helped stem some of the losses in the stock market Monday, as investors initially sold on the failure of Congress and the White House to reach a deal on health care.

For Tuesday, investors are watching a number of Fed speakers, including Fed Chair Janet Yellen, who speaks on workforce development challenges at 12:50 p.m. ET, and Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer, who appears on CNBC at 1:30 p.m. There is also a batch of data, including advance economic indicators at 8:30 a.m. ET, S&P/Case-Shiller home prices at 9 a.m., services PMI at 9:45 a.m. and consumer confidence at 10 a.m.

"Traders are looking for good entries and thinking we'll have a little bit of a bounce at quarter's end," said Scott Redler, partner with Redler said window dressing, or the process where fund managers put the best face on their holdings, played a role in the turnaround in Monday's session.

In fact, the buying started in tech and moved into some very oversold names, Redler said. The had been down sharp triple digits but closed off down just 45 points at 20,550, its eighth decline in a row, while the S&P was off just 2 points at 2,341, after recovering nearly 20 points. The Nasdaq, lifted by tech, rose 11 to 5,840.

Pisani: Investors are picking at the bottom, and it's an optimistic sign
Pisani: Investors are picking at the bottom, and it's an optimistic sign

"Technology has been strong. … I think you have to be careful with some of the banks and small caps. They've been a little more bent but still not broken," Redler said. The S&P financial sector is up less than a percent for the quarter, but it has been hit hard lately, and is down 4.3 percent in the past month. Energy is the worst performing sector for the quarter, down nearly 10 percent. Tech is best, up 11 percent.

If history is a guide, stocks could exit March with the wind at their back. April is on average the second best month of the year for the S&P 500, according to Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA. In April, the S&P 500 posts an average 1.4 percent gain and is higher about 70 percent of the time.

The Dow and S&P 500 are both on track for losses this month, with the S&P 500 is down nearly a percent and the Dow off 1.3 percent. They are also both in line for solid gains for the quarter, in their sixth winning quarter in a row. Quarter to date, the S&P 500 is up 4.6 percent and the Dow is up about 4 percent.

Stovall said stocks have outperformed solidly in the first quarter. "It was a lot stronger than a normal quarter. Normally, it's up less than half of that. It was stronger, and no matter how you slice it, the market is expensive and I think it's being supported by Trump-im-ism," said Stovall, referring a blend of Trump and optimism.

He said the S&P's reversal was impressive Monday. "My thought is we tested and bounced off the 50-day moving average [2,230]," he said. "We might get a day or two of opposite moves when we retest the 50-day again, and maybe it does not hold."

Yields were mostly lower Monday, with the 10-year at 2.37 percent late in the day.

"There's not much on the horizon that the Treasury markets would like to see to reprice it in either direction, back to 2.5 or to the 2.3 level [on the 10-year yield]," said Ian Lyngen, rate strategist at BMO.

He is watching advanced indicators.

"I'm expecting that if the print comes off of the consensus, down about $67 bilion, that it could have implications for real GDP expectations in the first quarter," said Lyngen.

Other Fed speakers include Kansas City Fed President Esther George in Midwest City, Oklahoma, at 12:45 p.m. at a conference on banking and the economy.

Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan speaks at 1 p.m., and Fed Gov. Jay Powell speaks at 4:30 p.m.

Watch: Steam coming out of markets?

Santoli: Steam coming out of markets below the surface
Santoli: Steam coming out of markets below the surface