After the Dow Jones Industrial Average
Going into the second quarter, investors seem to be questioning whether the market can keep up the rally. Fears loom of a stagnating recovery in the job market, earnings estimates are down, and European debt problems and slowing growth in China continue to be a concern.
According to a poll by FactSet, analysts are predicting S&P 500
As we begin the second quarter, here's what investors will want to look for in the coming days.
Focusing on Monday's outlook, two reports will be coming out. The ISM Manufacturing Index, due at 10 a.m. ET, will reveal March data in that sector, including employment, production inventories, new orders, and supplier deliveries. The market is expecting a figure of 53, up from 52.4 in February, which marked the 31st consecutive month of positive numbers. (A reading of 50 is neutral; above 50 indicates an expansion and below a contraction.) As the ISM index is a leading indicator of production three to six months out, cyclical companies such as Alcoa
Market watchers should also get a big hint of what's in store on Friday, when monthly jobs numbers come out. Strong employment growth has helped buoy the recovery as the unemployment rate has dropped from 9% last fall to 8.3%. The market is expecting an addition of 200,000 jobs, down from 227,000 in February, which would keep the jobless rate right at 8.3%.
Friday's closure in observance of Good Friday will push the market's response to next week, which also happens to kick off earnings season, with Alcoa set to report on April 10. Analysts are predicting a $0.04 EPS loss for Alcoa.
Hold on to those gains
With the Dow up 24% in the past six months, investors may be thinking about how to lock in those gains. One of the best vehicles for doing so is high-yielding dividend stocks. To kick off your search for great blue-chip dividend stocks, our analysts have identified some of the best in our special free report: "Secure Your Future with 9 Rock-Solid Dividend Stocks." Get your free copy now.