After the horrific performance in 2022, the first quarter wasn't too shabby for investors.
The big picture: Stocks ended a volatile quarter solidly in the green, thanks to a healthy rally among tech companies.
- The S&P 500 rose 7% during the quarter, and the Nasdaq composite climbed nearly 17%.
- It was the second straight quarter in the green for the S&P.
State of play: This is a welcome change for investors after last year — the market's worst since 2008 — when stocks got slammed by rising interest rates.
This year: Some of that dynamic has reversed.
- Interest rates have fallen. The yield on the 10-year T-note, for example, dropped to about 3.5%, from 4% earlier in the year.
- And some of the tech stocks left for dead last year are seeing remarkable rebounds.
- For example, Facebook parent Meta soared 76% in the first quarter. Tesla climbed 68%. Chipmaker Nvidia is up an astounding 90% for the year, making it the S&P's big winner so far in 2023.
The other side: The biggest losers are the regional banks, led by First Republic, which is down nearly 90% so far this year. (Unless you count Silicon Valley Bank, an S&P 500 company that lost 100% of its equity value when it collapsed.)
The bottom line: Nobody knows if the bear market is over; the S&P 500 would have to hit new highs for that to happen — and it's still about 15% below that level.
- But two straight quarterly gains of 7% isn't a bad start.
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