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With European markets closed for Easter and many Asian markets also still on holiday, it’s been a quiet pre-market session. Chinese stocks were open for trading, though, and they traded modestly lower. S&P 500 futures have been weakening into the open with the Nasdaq leading the way lower, as some of the tech sector’s outperformance this year gets unwound. Friday’s employment report has also raised the odds of a 25-bps hike at the May meeting to better than a two-in-three chance.
Enjoy the quiet while it lasts because earnings season kicks off at the end of this week when the major banks start to report on Friday with Blackrock (BLK), Citi (C), JPMorgan Chase (JPM), PNC (PNC), and Wells Fargo (WFC) all on the calendar. Outside of these banks, the only other notable reports this week will be Delta (DAL) on Thursday and UnitedHealth (UNH) on Friday.
It may be a dull start to the week for stocks, and from a bull’s perspective, dull is good. Historically, the week following Easter has been better than normal. Since 1945, the S&P 500’s median performance during Easter week has been a gain of 0.54% with positive returns just under 60% of the time. For all weeks in the post-WWII period, the S&P 500’s median weekly performance has been just over half of that at a gain of 0.29% with positive returns 56.6% of the time.
Breaking out performance further by how the market was performing YTD heading into the holiday when the S&P 500 was up on the year heading into Easter the median performance during Easter week was a gain of 0.67% with gains 61.7% of the time. That compares to a gain of just 0.20% in years when it was down YTD. Recall that last year, the S&P 500 was down 7.8% heading into Easter and declined 2.8% during Easter week.
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