Monthly Market Monitor: April 2013

Market Indices1AprilYear-to-Date
S&P 500+1.93%+12.74%
Russell 3000+1.64%+12.89%
MSCI EAFE+5.33%+10.84%
MSCI Emerging Markets+0.79%-0.79%
Barclays US Aggregate Bond+1.01%+0.89%
Barclays Municipal+1.10%+1.39%
Barclays US Corporate High Yield+1.81%+4.75%

1 Morningstar Direct (all performance percentages are total return based, which include reinvested dividend, interest)

April was a record-setting month with the S&P 500 finishing the month at 1,597, a new all-time historical high. While returns slowed from March’s 3.8% advance, the benchmark equity index rose a sixth straight month, its longest winning streak since September 2009. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose for a fifth consecutive month and matched the performance of the S&P 500. The Dow reached a new all-time high of 14,865 on April 11th. The technology-focused NASDAQ Composite also finished with a 1.9% gain last month, closing at a 12-year high. Overall, investors tread a little more cautiously on recent signs of global slowing, while sentiment remains backstopped by improving corporate earnings and free-flowing central bank stimulus.

Small-cap stocks underperformed large-caps as the Russell 2000, a proxy for small-cap equities, fell 0.4% in April. Growth stocks outperformed their value counterparts as the Russell 1000 Growth Index gained 2.1% last month whereas the Russell 1000 Value Index returned 1.5%. On a year-to-date basis however, value outperformed growth by over 2% as the Russell 1000 Value Index returned 14% versus 11.9% for the Russell 1000 Growth Index. Commodities, as measured by the S&P GSCI Index, fell 4.7% in April following a 0.8% March gain. Gold futures recovered 4.2% during the last week of April, trimming their biggest monthly loss in over a year to 7.7%. Crude oil futures lost 3.9% last month as strong domestic production lifted the nation’s stockpiles to a 22-year high.

Eight of the ten S&P 500 sector groups advanced in April, led by Telecom (+7%), Utilities (+6%) and Consumer Staples (+3.1%). Energy (-0.9%) and Industrials (-0.8%) were April’s laggards. For the year, all ten S&P sectors continued to register gains, with six of the ten major sectors advancing double-digit percentage figures. Utilities (+19.7%), Healthcare (+19.2%) and Consumer Staples (+18.1%), all defensive-oriented sectors, are this year’s biggest winners. Materials (+5.5%) and Technology (+5.5%) have returned the least on a year-to-date basis.

Overseas developed markets widely outperformed the U.S. as the MSCI EAFE Index returned 5.3% in April. The strong advance came courtesy of massive stimulus measures from the Bank of Japan, sending Japan’s Nikkei index up 12.4% in April. Emerging markets ended the month on a high note, as the MSCI Emerging Markets Index advanced 1.2% on April 30th, capping the month with a 0.8% gain. The emerging markets index is down 0.8% year-to-date.

U.S. Treasury 10-year note yields finished April at the lowest month-end level this year, ending at 1.67%, down 20 basis points from the end of March. Treasuries, as measured by the Barclays U.S. Government Bond Index, returning 0.8% in April, its third monthly gain. U.S. investment grade bonds of all types gained the most since July, up 1% last month, as measured by the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index. Municipal bonds, as measured by the Barclays Municipals Index, rose 1.1% in April. Non-investment grade corporate bonds posted a 1.8% monthly return, as measured by the Barclays U.S. Corporate High Yield Index.

This information is compiled by Cetera Financial Group. No independent analysis has been performed and the material should not be construed as investment advice. Investment decisions should not be based on this material since the information contained here is a singular update, and prudent investment decisions require the analysis of a much broader collection of facts and context. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

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