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“You don’t need to be a rocket scientist. Investing is not a game where the guy with the 160 IQ beats the guy with 130 IQ.” – Warren Buffett

Morning stock market summary

Below is a snippet of commentary from today’s Morning Lineup. Start a two-week trial to Bespoke Premium to view the full report.  

Many global markets are closed in observance of May Day today, and here in the US, most investors are close to crying “Mayday” after futures are firmly lower following yesterday’s sharp declines.  It’s another busy day of earnings and economic data, and the big report overnight was from Amazon.com (AMZN) which is trading modestly higher.  Several other smaller but notable companies like Super Micro Computer (SMCI), Starbucks (SBUX), and Skyworks (SWKS) are all trading lower, though.  And that’s just the companies that begin with ‘S’!  On the economic calendar, the ADP Payrolls report came in modestly higher than expected, but we still have JOLTS, ISM, and Construction Spending on deck. Also, don’t forget the Fed at 2 PM and Powell’s presser at 2:30.

April has historically been a positive month for stocks but not this year.  The S&P 500’s 4.2% decline was only the weakest April since 2022 (-8.8%), but it was one of only seven Aprils since WWII where the S&P 500 declined more than 4%.  Not only was the S&P 500 down in April, but it also broke a five-month streak of gains.

Five-month streaks of gains for the S&P 500 haven’t been uncommon. Since WWII, there have been 31 prior periods where the S&P 500 posted positive returns for five or more straight months. What made the recent streak unique is that every positive month was a gain of at least 1%, and there have only been nine of those since WWII.

In the charts below, we summarize the performance of the S&P 500 in the one, three, six, and twelve months following the first down month that ended prior streaks.  While futures are lower this morning, and the S&P 500 is entering what has historically been a weak period in terms of returns, bulls can take some solace in the fact that median returns following the end of the prior 31 five-month winning streaks along with the median performance following five-month streaks of 1%+ gains have been better than the average for all one, three, six, and twelve month periods since WWII.

Speaking of a weak period for the market, like the recently ended streak, there have only been three other periods where the S&P 500 was up for at least five straight months and then declined in April. It’s a small sample size, but on a positive note, the S&P 500 was higher one, three, and six months later.  One year later, though, performance was mixed with declines once, a paltry gain of just 2.4% another time, and a massive gain of over 22% following the streak that ended in April 1986.

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