Yet Another Poor Quarter for Stocks

Heard this before? “The markets are in the red this quarter.” In fact, both the Dow Industrials and the S&P 500 are set for their sixth straight quarter of declines. Neither index has posted a quarterly gain since Q3 2007. During this period, the Dow has plunged 46%, while the S&P has fallen 48%. The last time – and only other time since 1930 – that the Dow has fallen six straight quarters was back from Q1 1969 to Q2 1970.

As of yesterday’s close, here’s how the major indices and sectors have performed over the past three months (see stock biggest gainers and losers here):

Major Indices
Dow Industrials -14.29%
Dow Transports -24.98%
Dow Utilities -12.57%
S&P 500 -12.81%
Nasdaq Composite -4.77%
Russell 2000 -16.71%

S&P 500 Sectors
Tech +1.92%
Materials -3.58%
Telecom -8.59%
Healthcare -8.98%
Consumer Discretionary -9.37%
Consumer Staples -11.11%
Energy -11.65%
Utilities -13.30%
Industrials -22.60%
Financials -33.93%

Other Major Sector Indices
Gold Stocks +14.81%
Semis +8.14%
Retailers +4.25%
Oil Services +3.99%
Biotech -1.34%
Brokers -4.35%
Natural Gas Stocks -7.82%
Healthcare -9.07%
Consumer -10.77%
Drugs -11.22%
Housing -11.29%
Oil Stocks -13.36%
Cyclicals -21.13%
Defense -23.58%
Insurance -32.94%
REITs -39.03%
Airlines -40.97%
Banks -40.97%

Dow Marches On

Despite the poor performance this quarter, the Dow appears to have avoided another dubious achievement. Barring a hefty 6.5% drop today, the Dow will snap its 6-month losing streak, and will likely post its strongest March gain since 2000. As a result, it dodges having its longest string of monthly declines since its 9-month losing streak back in 1941-1942.

Furthermore, for the fifth time, the Dow once again found a way to end March with a gain after posting a double-digit decline over the first two months of the year (see post:Will March Bring Spring to the Markets).

For the month: Dow Industrials up 6.50%, S&P 500 up 7.13%, and Nasdaq Composite up 9.00%.

Sector standouts this month: Homebuilders up 17%, retailers up 15%, semiconductors up 15%, materials up 14%, and financials up 10%.

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