THE MONTH IN BRIEF

Offhand, when was the last month in which stocks didn’t
advance? That would be October, and if it seems like a distant memory, credit
the Federal Reserve, a decent Q1 earnings season, and a prevalent optimism that
is hard to dismiss. The S&P 500 pushed higher during the month to settle at
a new record close of 1,597.57 on April 30 – even after an abysmal March jobs
report and some soft indicators at home and abroad. It was a bad month for commodities
investors, with the big headline being gold’s lapse into a bear market on April
12. There was better news out of Europe, if not out of China. The real estate
market continued to improve, the usual monthly volatility in the pace of home
sales aside.1,2,3

DOMESTIC ECONOMIC HEALTH

The most stunning news of April came early in the month,
when the Labor Department said that the economy had generated but 88,000 new
jobs in March. Sure, the jobless rate fell to 7.6%, but that was only because fewer
Americans were looking for work – the labor force participation rate hit a
34-year low of 63.3%. Of course, the Labor Department often
greatly revises these monthly hiring figures.4

Was manufacturing growth tapering off? The
Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing PMI came in at 50.7 in April, below
the disappointing March reading of 51.3. ISM’s March service sector PMI declined
to a still-encouraging 54.4 in April from its 56.0 March reading. Construction
spending was down 0.7% in March, while overall durable goods orders lessened by
5.7%. Retail sales dipped 0.4% in March (the poorest month since last June). Given
indicators like these, perhaps it wasn’t surprising that the federal
government’s initial estimate of Q1 GDP was 2.5% – not the 3.0% or better
growth that many economists had assumed they would see.5,6,7,8

Consumer spending beat expectations with a 0.2%
gain in March, with colder weather being the biggest factor: inflation-adjusted
spending on utilities rose by the largest monthly amount since October 2001. Gas
prices had fallen 4.4% in March, and inflation also lessened: the overall Consumer
Price Index went south 0.2% and the overall Producer Price Index retreated 0.6%;
the core PPI rose 0.2%, the core CPI 0.1%.8,9,10

The Conference Board’s April consumer confidence
poll soared to a 5-month peak of 68.1 in April from its 61.9 mark for March. The
University of Michigan’s final April consumer sentiment index reached 76.4,
surprising to the upside – economists polled by Briefing.com had expected a
final April reading of 72.4.1,7,11

GLOBAL ECONOMIC HEALTH

Would China’s apparent economic recovery amount to an
illusion? Its official GDP reading for Q1 was 7.7%, down from 7.9% in Q4.
Additionally, its HSBC PMI reading fell to 50.5 in April, a two-month low.
Economists worried that its GDP would be closer to 7% than 8% in coming
quarters. This disappointment provided another hit to the global commodities
market, signaling reduced demand for gold and other resources in the PRC.12

While the banking crisis in Cyprus had cooled, eurozone
unemployment had hit 12.1% in March, and Germany’s manufacturing PMI showed
contraction in April (49.2). However, these last two developments seemed to
increase the odds of the European Central Bank lowering its benchmark interest
rate (which was at 0.75% as April ended). Ten-year bond yields in Italy and
Spain were respectively at 4.1% and 4.3% as the month wrapped up, a far cry
from the danger zone they entered last summer; the yield on Spain’s 10-year
note fell for an eighth straight month. Italy’s political stalemate ended after
two months, with new prime minister Enrico Letta receiving a parliamentary vote
of confidence.11,13,14,15

WORLD MARKETS

Many marquee indices fared well in April. The gainers included the Global Dow
(+3.27%), the MSCI World Index (+2.90%), the MSCI
Emerging Markets Index (+0.44%), the Nikkei 225 (+11.80%), the Sensex (+3.55%), the S&P/ASX 200 (+4.52%), the FTSE 100 (+0.29%), the CAC 40 (+3.36%), the DAX (+1.52%) and the
Euro STOXX 50 (+0.99%). In the loss column for April, we find the TSX Composite
(-2.30%), the IPC All-Share (-4.11%), the Bovespa (-0.78%) and the Shanghai Composite
(-2.62%).i COmposite : the TSX
Composite (-2.30%), the  gan’2,16

COMMODITIES MARKETS

It wasn’t all bad in April: natural gas futures rose 9.0%, cocoa futures gained
9.1%, and wheat futures rose 6.3%. Now for the bad news: gold fell 7.8% last
month to an April 30 COMEX close of just $1,474.00. Silver cratered 14.6% in
April; copper fell 6.4%, platinum 4.3% and palladium 9.2%. Corn (-6.5%) and
soybeans (-0.4%) both lost ground for a third consecutive month. NYMEX crude dipped
3.9% in April to end the month at $93.46 a barrel while RBOB gasoline futures dropped
9.8%. The U.S. Dollar Index lost 1.52% in
April, settling at 81.72 on April 30.11,17,18,19

REAL ESTATE

The pace of existing home sales was 10.3% better in March
2013 than it was in March 2012, according to the National Association of
Realtors; the Census Bureau reported an 18.5% year-over-year improvement in the
pace of new home purchases.  The February
S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed its best overall 12-month gain
since May 2006 (+9.3%). NAR also noted pending home sales at a 3-year peak in
March, with the annual gain at 7.0%. Existing home sales did decline 0.6% in March;
new home sales rose 1.5%.11,20,t in the sales pace at 18.5%.3,21

What happened to mortgage rates in April? We saw
notable declines. Freddie Mac’s March 28 Primary Mortgage Market Survey had the
average interest rate for the 30-year FRM at 3.57%; it was at 2.76% for the 15-year FRM, 2.68%
for the 5/1-year
ARMs and 2.62% for the 1-year ARM. In the last April survey
(April 25), the numbers were as follows: 30-year FRM, 3.40%; 15-year FRM, 2.61%; 5/1-year
ARM, 2.58%; 1-year ARM, 2.62%.22

LOOKING BACK…LOOKING FORWARD

The NASDAQ and S&P are now on 6-month winning streaks – the longest win streaks they
have realized in the current bull market. The DJIA advanced for a fifth straight
month in April. Here are the settlement prices from April 30: DJIA, 14,839.80; S&P, 1,597.57, NASDAQ, 3,328.79; Russell 2000,
947.46. (The RUT actually lost 0.43% for April.)1,2

Hopefully, we won’t see domestic economic indicators falter in May and June, as was the
case in 2011 and 2012. Overseas indicators (growth and manufacturing in China,
the lingering recession in Europe) may not promise much, however. On a positive
note, the Fed is still printing plenty of money and sticking to its
accommodative monetary policy, which has boosted stocks of late more than any
other factor. The undeniable psychological lift from the Fed’s open-ended
easing hasn’t worn off, and investor morale is still high. The market doesn’t
seem to be

THE MONTH IN BRIEF

Offhand, when was the last month in which stocks didn’t
advance? That would be October, and if it seems like a distant memory, credit
the Federal Reserve, a decent Q1 earnings season, and a prevalent optimism that
is hard to dismiss. The S&P 500 pushed higher during the month to settle at
a new record close of 1,597.57 on April 30 – even after an abysmal March jobs
report and some soft indicators at home and abroad. It was a bad month for
commodities investors, with the big headline being gold’s lapse into a bear
market on April 12. There was better news out of Europe, if not out of China.
The real estate market continued to improve, the usual monthly volatility in
the pace of home sales aside.1,2,3

 

DOMESTIC ECONOMIC HEALTH

The most stunning news of April came early in the month,
when the Labor Department said that the economy had generated but 88,000 new
jobs in March. Sure, the jobless rate fell to 7.6%, but that was only because fewer
Americans were looking for work – the labor force participation rate hit a
34-year low of 63.3%. Of course, the Labor Department often
greatly revises these monthly hiring figures.4

 

Was manufacturing growth tapering off? The
Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing PMI came in at 50.7 in April, below
the disappointing March reading of 51.3. ISM’s March service sector PMI
declined to a still-encouraging 54.4 in April from its 56.0 March reading.
Construction spending was down 0.7% in March, while overall durable goods
orders lessened by 5.7%. Retail sales dipped 0.4% in March (the poorest month
since last June). Given indicators like these, perhaps it wasn’t surprising
that the federal government’s initial estimate of Q1 GDP was 2.5% – not the
3.0% or better growth that many economists had assumed they would see.5,6,7,8

 

Consumer spending beat expectations with a 0.2%
gain in March, with colder weather being the biggest factor: inflation-adjusted
spending on utilities rose by the largest monthly amount since October 2001.
Gas prices had fallen 4.4% in March, and inflation also lessened: the overall
Consumer Price Index went south 0.2% and the overall Producer Price Index
retreated 0.6%; the core PPI rose 0.2%, the core CPI 0.1%.8,9,10

 

The Conference Board’s April consumer confidence
poll soared to a 5-month peak of 68.1 in April from its 61.9 mark for March.
The University of Michigan’s final April consumer sentiment index reached 76.4,
surprising to the upside – economists polled by Briefing.com had expected a
final April reading of 72.4.1,7,11

 

GLOBAL ECONOMIC HEALTH

Would China’s apparent economic recovery amount to an
illusion? Its official GDP reading for Q1 was 7.7%, down from 7.9% in Q4.
Additionally, its HSBC PMI reading fell to 50.5 in April, a two-month low.
Economists worried that its GDP would be closer to 7% than 8% in coming
quarters. This disappointment provided another hit to the global commodities
market, signaling reduced demand for gold and other resources in the PRC.12

 

While the banking crisis in Cyprus had cooled, eurozone
unemployment had hit 12.1% in March, and Germany’s manufacturing PMI showed
contraction in April (49.2). However, these last two developments seemed to
increase the odds of the European Central Bank lowering its benchmark interest
rate (which was at 0.75% as April ended). Ten-year bond yields in Italy and
Spain were respectively at 4.1% and 4.3% as the month wrapped up, a far cry
from the danger zone they entered last summer; the yield on Spain’s 10-year
note fell for an eighth straight month. Italy’s political stalemate ended after
two months, with new prime minister Enrico Letta receiving a parliamentary vote
of confidence.11,13,14,15

WORLD MARKETS

Many
marquee indices fared well in April. The gainers included the Global Dow
(+3.27%), the MSCI World Index (+2.90%), the MSCI
Emerging Markets Index (+0.44%), the Nikkei 225 (+11.80%), the Sensex (+3.55%), the S&P/ASX 200 (+4.52%), the FTSE 100 (+0.29%), the CAC 40 (+3.36%), the DAX (+1.52%) and the
Euro STOXX 50 (+0.99%). In the loss column for April, we find the TSX Composite
(-2.30%), the IPC All-Share (-4.11%), the Bovespa (-0.78%) and the Shanghai Composite
(-2.62%).i COmposite : the TSX
Composite (-2.30%), the  gan’2,16

 

COMMODITIES MARKETS

It
wasn’t all bad in April: natural gas futures rose 9.0%, cocoa futures gained
9.1%, and wheat futures rose 6.3%. Now for the bad news: gold fell 7.8% last
month to an April 30 COMEX close of just $1,474.00. Silver cratered 14.6% in
April; copper fell 6.4%, platinum 4.3% and palladium 9.2%. Corn (-6.5%) and
soybeans (-0.4%) both lost ground for a third consecutive month. NYMEX crude
dipped 3.9% in April to end the month at $93.46 a barrel while RBOB gasoline
futures dropped 9.8%. The U.S. Dollar Index lost 1.52% in
April, settling at 81.72 on April 30.11,17,18,19

 

REAL ESTATE

The pace of existing home sales was 10.3% better in March
2013 than it was in March 2012, according to the National Association of
Realtors; the Census Bureau reported an 18.5% year-over-year improvement in the
pace of new home purchases.  The February
S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed its best overall 12-month gain since
May 2006 (+9.3%). NAR also noted pending home sales at a 3-year peak in March,
with the annual gain at 7.0%. Existing home sales did decline 0.6% in March;
new home sales rose 1.5%.11,20,t in the sales pace at 18.5%.3,21

 

What happened to mortgage rates in April? We saw
notable declines. Freddie Mac’s March 28 Primary Mortgage Market Survey had the
average interest rate for the 30-year FRM at 3.57%; it was at 2.76% for the 15-year FRM, 2.68%
for the 5/1-year
ARMs and 2.62% for the 1-year ARM. In the last April survey
(April 25), the numbers were as follows: 30-year FRM, 3.40%; 15-year FRM, 2.61%;
5/1-year ARM, 2.58%; 1-year ARM, 2.62%.22

 

LOOKING BACK…LOOKING FORWARD

The
NASDAQ and S&P are now on 6-month winning streaks – the longest win streaks
they have realized in the current bull market. The DJIA advanced for a fifth straight
month in April. Here are the settlement prices from April 30: DJIA, 14,839.80; S&P, 1,597.57, NASDAQ, 3,328.79; Russell 2000,
947.46. (The RUT actually lost 0.43% for April.)1,2

 

%
CHANGE
YTD 1-MO
CHG
1-YR
CHG
10-YR
AVG
DJIA +13.25 +1.79 +12.31 +7.50
NASDAQ +10.24 +1.88 +9.27 +12.73
S&P 500 +12.02 +1.81 +14.28 +7.42
REAL
YIELD
4/30
RATE
1
YR AGO
5
YRS AGO
10
YRS AGO
10 YR TIPS -0.64% -0.30% 1.50% 2.16%

 

Sources: online.wsj.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov – 4/30/132,23,24

Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be
invested into directly.

These returns do not include dividends.

 

Hopefully,
we won’t see domestic economic indicators falter in May and June, as was the
case in 2011 and 2012. Overseas indicators (growth and manufacturing in China,
the lingering recession in Europe) may not promise much, however. On a positive
note, the Fed is still printing plenty of money and sticking to its
accommodative monetary policy, which has boosted stocks of late more than any
other factor. The undeniable psychological lift from the Fed’s open-ended
easing hasn’t worn off, and investor morale is still high. The market doesn’t
seem to be

THE MONTH IN BRIEF
Offhand, when was the last month in which stocks didn’t advance? That would be October, and if it seems like a distant memory, credit the Federal Reserve, a decent Q1 earnings season, and a prevalent optimism that is hard to dismiss. The S&P 500 pushed higher during the month to settle at a new record close of 1,597.57 on April 30 – even after an abysmal March jobs report and some soft indicators at home and abroad. It was a bad month for commodities investors, with the big headline being gold’s lapse into a bear market on April 12. There was better news out of Europe, if not out of China. The real estate market continued to improve, the usual monthly volatility in the pace of home sales aside.1,2,3

DOMESTIC ECONOMIC HEALTH
The most stunning news of April came early in the month, when the Labor Department said that the economy had generated but 88,000 new jobs in March. Sure, the jobless rate fell to 7.6%, but that was only because fewer Americans were looking for work – the labor force participation rate hit a 34-year low of 63.3%. Of course, the Labor Department often greatly revises these monthly hiring figures.4

Was manufacturing growth tapering off? The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing PMI came in at 50.7 in April, below the disappointing March reading of 51.3. ISM’s March service sector PMI declined to a still-encouraging 54.4 in April from its 56.0 March reading. Construction spending was down 0.7% in March, while overall durable goods orders lessened by 5.7%. Retail sales dipped 0.4% in March (the poorest month since last June). Given indicators like these, perhaps it wasn’t surprising that the federal government’s initial estimate of Q1 GDP was 2.5% – not the 3.0% or better growth that many economists had assumed they would see.5,6,7,8

Consumer spending beat expectations with a 0.2% gain in March, with colder weather being the biggest factor: inflation-adjusted spending on utilities rose by the largest monthly amount since October 2001. Gas prices had fallen 4.4% in March, and inflation also lessened: the overall Consumer Price Index went south 0.2% and the overall Producer Price Index retreated 0.6%; the core PPI rose 0.2%, the core CPI 0.1%.8,9,10

The Conference Board’s April consumer confidence poll soared to a 5-month peak of 68.1 in April from its 61.9 mark for March. The University of Michigan’s final April consumer sentiment index reached 76.4, surprising to the upside – economists polled by Briefing.com had expected a final April reading of 72.4.1,7,11

GLOBAL ECONOMIC HEALTH
Would China’s apparent economic recovery amount to an illusion? Its official GDP reading for Q1 was 7.7%, down from 7.9% in Q4. Additionally, its HSBC PMI reading fell to 50.5 in April, a two-month low. Economists worried that its GDP would be closer to 7% than 8% in coming quarters. This disappointment provided another hit to the global commodities market, signaling reduced demand for gold and other resources in the PRC.12

While the banking crisis in Cyprus had cooled, eurozone unemployment had hit 12.1% in March, and Germany’s manufacturing PMI showed contraction in April (49.2). However, these last two developments seemed to increase the odds of the European Central Bank lowering its benchmark interest rate (which was at 0.75% as April ended). Ten-year bond yields in Italy and Spain were respectively at 4.1% and 4.3% as the month wrapped up, a far cry from the danger zone they entered last summer; the yield on Spain’s 10-year note fell for an eighth straight month. Italy’s political stalemate ended after two months, with new prime minister Enrico Letta receiving a parliamentary vote of confidence.11,13,14,15

WORLD MARKETS
Many marquee indices fared well in April. The gainers included the Global Dow (+3.27%), the MSCI World Index (+2.90%), the MSCI Emerging Markets Index (+0.44%), the Nikkei 225 (+11.80%), the Sensex (+3.55%), the S&P/ASX 200 (+4.52%), the FTSE 100 (+0.29%), the CAC 40 (+3.36%), the DAX (+1.52%) and the Euro STOXX 50 (+0.99%). In the loss column for April, we find the TSX Composite (-2.30%), the IPC All-Share (-4.11%), the Bovespa (-0.78%) and the Shanghai Composite (-2.62%).i COmposite : the TSX Composite (-2.30%), the gan’2,16

COMMODITIES MARKETS

It wasn’t all bad in April: natural gas futures rose 9.0%, cocoa futures gained 9.1%, and wheat futures rose 6.3%. Now for the bad news: gold fell 7.8% last month to an April 30 COMEX close of just $1,474.00. Silver cratered 14.6% in April; copper fell 6.4%, platinum 4.3% and palladium 9.2%. Corn (-6.5%) and soybeans (-0.4%) both lost ground for a third consecutive month. NYMEX crude dipped 3.9% in April to end the month at $93.46 a barrel while RBOB gasoline futures dropped 9.8%. The U.S. Dollar Index lost 1.52% in April, settling at 81.72 on April 30.11,17,18,19

REAL ESTATE
The pace of existing home sales was 10.3% better in March 2013 than it was in March 2012, according to the National Association of Realtors; the Census Bureau reported an 18.5% year-over-year improvement in the pace of new home purchases. The February S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed its best overall 12-month gain since May 2006 (+9.3%). NAR also noted pending home sales at a 3-year peak in March, with the annual gain at 7.0%. Existing home sales did decline 0.6% in March; new home sales rose 1.5%.11,20,t in the sales pace at 18.5%.3,21

What happened to mortgage rates in April? We saw notable declines. Freddie Mac’s March 28 Primary Mortgage Market Survey had the average interest rate for the 30-year FRM at 3.57%; it was at 2.76% for the 15-year FRM, 2.68% for the 5/1-year ARMs and 2.62% for the 1-year ARM. In the last April survey (April 25), the numbers were as follows: 30-year FRM, 3.40%; 15-year FRM, 2.61%; 5/1-year ARM, 2.58%; 1-year ARM, 2.62%.22

LOOKING BACK…LOOKING FORWARD
The NASDAQ and S&P are now on 6-month winning streaks – the longest win streaks they have realized in the current bull market. The DJIA advanced for a fifth straight month in April. Here are the settlement prices from April 30: DJIA, 14,839.80; S&P, 1,597.57, NASDAQ, 3,328.79; Russell 2000, 947.46. (The RUT actually lost 0.43% for April.)1,2

% CHANGE

YTD

1-MO CHG

1-YR CHG

10-YR AVG

DJIA

+13.25

+1.79

+12.31

+7.50

NASDAQ

+10.24

+1.88

+9.27

+12.73

S&P 500

+12.02

+1.81

+14.28

+7.42

REAL YIELD

4/30 RATE

1 YR AGO

5 YRS AGO

10 YRS AGO

10 YR TIPS

-0.64%

-0.30%

1.50%

2.16%


THE MONTH IN BRIEF
Offhand, when was the last month in which stocks didn’t advance? That would be October, and if it seems like a distant memory, credit the Federal Reserve, a decent Q1 earnings season, and a prevalent optimism that is hard to dismiss. The S&P 500 pushed higher during the month to settle at a new record close of 1,597.57 on April 30 – even after an abysmal March jobs report and some soft indicators at home and abroad. It was a bad month for commodities investors, with the big headline being gold’s lapse into a bear market on April 12. There was better news out of Europe, if not out of China. The real estate market continued to improve, the usual monthly volatility in the pace of home sales aside.1,2,3

DOMESTIC ECONOMIC HEALTH
The most stunning news of April came early in the month, when the Labor Department said that the economy had generated but 88,000 new jobs in March. Sure, the jobless rate fell to 7.6%, but that was only because fewer Americans were looking for work – the labor force participation rate hit a 34-year low of 63.3%. Of course, the Labor Department often greatly revises these monthly hiring figures.4

Was manufacturing growth tapering off? The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing PMI came in at 50.7 in April, below the disappointing March reading of 51.3. ISM’s March service sector PMI declined to a still-encouraging 54.4 in April from its 56.0 March reading. Construction spending was down 0.7% in March, while overall durable goods orders lessened by 5.7%. Retail sales dipped 0.4% in March (the poorest month since last June). Given indicators like these, perhaps it wasn’t surprising that the federal government’s initial estimate of Q1 GDP was 2.5% – not the 3.0% or better growth that many economists had assumed they would see.5,6,7,8

Consumer spending beat expectations with a 0.2% gain in March, with colder weather being the biggest factor: inflation-adjusted spending on utilities rose by the largest monthly amount since October 2001. Gas prices had fallen 4.4% in March, and inflation also lessened: the overall Consumer Price Index went south 0.2% and the overall Producer Price Index retreated 0.6%; the core PPI rose 0.2%, the core CPI 0.1%.8,9,10

The Conference Board’s April consumer confidence poll soared to a 5-month peak of 68.1 in April from its 61.9 mark for March. The University of Michigan’s final April consumer sentiment index reached 76.4, surprising to the upside – economists polled by Briefing.com had expected a final April reading of 72.4.1,7,11

GLOBAL ECONOMIC HEALTH
Would China’s apparent economic recovery amount to an illusion? Its official GDP reading for Q1 was 7.7%, down from 7.9% in Q4. Additionally, its HSBC PMI reading fell to 50.5 in April, a two-month low. Economists worried that its GDP would be closer to 7% than 8% in coming quarters. This disappointment provided another hit to the global commodities market, signaling reduced demand for gold and other resources in the PRC.12

While the banking crisis in Cyprus had cooled, eurozone unemployment had hit 12.1% in March, and Germany’s manufacturing PMI showed contraction in April (49.2). However, these last two developments seemed to increase the odds of the European Central Bank lowering its benchmark interest rate (which was at 0.75% as April ended). Ten-year bond yields in Italy and Spain were respectively at 4.1% and 4.3% as the month wrapped up, a far cry from the danger zone they entered last summer; the yield on Spain’s 10-year note fell for an eighth straight month. Italy’s political stalemate ended after two months, with new prime minister Enrico Letta receiving a parliamentary vote of confidence.11,13,14,15

WORLD MARKETS
Many marquee indices fared well in April. The gainers included the Global Dow (+3.27%), the MSCI World Index (+2.90%), the MSCI Emerging Markets Index (+0.44%), the Nikkei 225 (+11.80%), the Sensex (+3.55%), the S&P/ASX 200 (+4.52%), the FTSE 100 (+0.29%), the CAC 40 (+3.36%), the DAX (+1.52%) and the Euro STOXX 50 (+0.99%). In the loss column for April, we find the TSX Composite (-2.30%), the IPC All-Share (-4.11%), the Bovespa (-0.78%) and the Shanghai Composite (-2.62%).i COmposite : the TSX Composite (-2.30%), the gan’2,16

COMMODITIES MARKETS

It wasn’t all bad in April: natural gas futures rose 9.0%, cocoa futures gained 9.1%, and wheat futures rose 6.3%. Now for the bad news: gold fell 7.8% last month to an April 30 COMEX close of just $1,474.00. Silver cratered 14.6% in April; copper fell 6.4%, platinum 4.3% and palladium 9.2%. Corn (-6.5%) and soybeans (-0.4%) both lost ground for a third consecutive month. NYMEX crude dipped 3.9% in April to end the month at $93.46 a barrel while RBOB gasoline futures dropped 9.8%. The U.S. Dollar Index lost 1.52% in April, settling at 81.72 on April 30.11,17,18,19

REAL ESTATE
The pace of existing home sales was 10.3% better in March 2013 than it was in March 2012, according to the National Association of Realtors; the Census Bureau reported an 18.5% year-over-year improvement in the pace of new home purchases. The February S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index showed its best overall 12-month gain since May 2006 (+9.3%). NAR also noted pending home sales at a 3-year peak in March, with the annual gain at 7.0%. Existing home sales did decline 0.6% in March; new home sales rose 1.5%.11,20,t in the sales pace at 18.5%.3,21

What happened to mortgage rates in April? We saw notable declines. Freddie Mac’s March 28 Primary Mortgage Market Survey had the average interest rate for the 30-year FRM at 3.57%; it was at 2.76% for the 15-year FRM, 2.68% for the 5/1-year ARMs and 2.62% for the 1-year ARM. In the last April survey (April 25), the numbers were as follows: 30-year FRM, 3.40%; 15-year FRM, 2.61%; 5/1-year ARM, 2.58%; 1-year ARM, 2.62%.22

LOOKING BACK…LOOKING FORWARD
The NASDAQ and S&P are now on 6-month winning streaks – the longest win streaks they have realized in the current bull market. The DJIA advanced for a fifth straight month in April. Here are the settlement prices from April 30: DJIA, 14,839.80; S&P, 1,597.57, NASDAQ, 3,328.79; Russell 2000, 947.46. (The RUT actually lost 0.43% for April.)1,2

% CHANGE

YTD

1-MO CHG

1-YR CHG

10-YR AVG

DJIA

+13.25

+1.79

+12.31

+7.50

NASDAQ

+10.24

+1.88

+9.27

+12.73

S&P 500

+12.02

+1.81

+14.28

+7.42

REAL YIELD

4/30 RATE

1 YR AGO

5 YRS AGO

10 YRS AGO

10 YR TIPS

-0.64%

-0.30%

1.50%

2.16%


Sources: online.wsj.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov – 4/30/132,23,24

Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly.

These returns do not include dividends.

Hopefully, we won’t see domestic economic indicators falter in May and June, as was the case in 2011 and 2012. Overseas indicators (growth and manufacturing in China, the lingering recession in Europe) may not promise much, however. On a positive note, the Fed is still printing plenty of money and sticking to its accommodative monetary policy, which has boosted stocks of late more than any other factor. The undeniable psychological lift from the Fed’s open-ended easing hasn’t worn off, and investor morale is still high. The market doesn’t seem to be

Hopefully, we won’t see domestic economic indicators falter in May and June, as was the case in 2011 and 2012. Overseas indicators (growth and manufacturing in China, the lingering recession in Europe) may not promise much, however. On a positive note, the Fed is still printing plenty of money and sticking to its accommodative monetary policy, which has boosted stocks of late more than any other factor. The undeniable psychological lift from the Fed’s open-ended easing hasn’t worn off, and investor morale is still high. The market doesn’t seem to be