Investor Spring Cleaning — How To Play The Markets For The Rest Of 2011

Good riddance March Madness. Welcome April.


The month has usually been a very good one for stocks(40 up years, 20 down years, average S&P 500return of 1.39 percent); and after the volatiliy and world of trouble seen in March, there's nothing like having history on your side.

The same, however, can't be said of the second quarter, which is the second worst for stocks. And while we're at it, the first quarter wasn't as bad as it seemed.

Two years into a bull market (as well as two years after the market low of March 2009), there's certainly reason for pause and the all-consuming question—are stocks experiencing a typical and healthy correction before plowing ahead or has the train jumped the tracks?

It's always what you don't expect that undoes the market—and the turmoil in the Mideastand an earthquake/tsunami in Japan certainly qualify as such—but there's no denying the world economy, and particularly the United States, is looking up.

So we're counting on the latter in this edition of our annual special report, "Investor Spring Cleaning".You'll find a bucket of investment-advice stories, as well as soothsaying analysis from our coterie of market watchers, both CNBC regulars and outside contributors.

Start with our story on asset allocationand how you might want to structure your portfolio for the rest of the year.

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We also take a look at three key areas for the markets thus far this year—the tech and energy sectors and the Asia-Pacificregion.

Find out which tech stocks have the best dividend ratios, how to play energygiven what some see as an inevitable march higher in crude oil and gasoline prices, and which Asian markets have staying power after outperforming most others in 2010.

Retail investors — just back in the market or still considering a return after the 2008-2009 exodus — may want to catch up on the latest trends in ETFs.

Of course, volatility does present opportunities. That may explain why more small investors are delving into options trading.

Currencies are another way to make money out of motion, and it looks to be an interesting and dynamic year for foreign exchange. There's now a wealth of inexpensive trading optionsbeyond stocks for small investors.

Finally, if predictions are your thing, see our "Market Movers" section, where network anchors and editors such as Maria Bartiromo andPatti Domm, as well as market pros and guest bloggerslike Michael Yoshikamiand Stephen Schorkhighlight three key market drivers for the rest of the year.

Informative—and, we hope — entertaining. After all, there's always slideshows, polls and a quiz.