A record week

  • S&P 500 joins Nasdaq 100 in the record-high club
  • GDP tops estimates, earnings mostly surprise to the upside
  • Big week on tap: Jobs, Fed meeting, and Apple and Alphabet earnings

The Nasdaq 100 (NDX) may be the hottest US stock index so far this year, but last week it was the broad-market barometer—the S&P 500 (SPX)—that took its bows, setting an all-time high closing price on Tuesday, nearly seven months to the day after it notched its last record close.

Then it followed up with another one on Friday:

S&P 500 (SPX), 3/26/19–4/26/19. S&P 500 (SPX) price chart. Record close.

Source: Power E*TRADE

Yeah, and the NDX tacked on a few more record highs of its own, hitting all-time intraday highs every day of the week except Friday, when it made up for the broken streak by notching a record close.

As earnings season shifted into high gear, quarterly numbers appeared to be stronger than many analysts had expected, despite being down overall from recent quarters.1 But despite scattered individual highlights, including Microsoft’s (MSFT) brief foray above the $1 trillion valuation threshold, Wednesday and Thursday were relatively weak for the broad market, but Friday’s estimate-beating GDP reading (3.2% vs. 2.5%) may have inspired the market to close out the final day of the week with a gain.

But one of the indexes that didn’t set any records, the recently dormant Russell 2000 (RUT), showed signs of renewed strength—a potentially encouraging sign for bulls:

US stock index performance table for week ending 4/26/19. S&P 500 (SPX), Nasdaq 100 (NDX), Russell 2000 (RUT), Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA).

Source: Power E*TRADE

Sector breakdown: The top-performing S&P 500 sectors last week were health care (+3.6%, moving from worst to first), communications services (+2.7%), and consumer discretionary (+1.4%). The worst-performing sectors were energy (-1.3%), materials (-1.3%), and industrials (-1%).

Power Moves: Twitter (TWTR) rode its earnings report +16% on Tuesday, while Astec Industries (ASTE) tumbled 26% after its release. On Wednesday, Speedway Motorsports (TRK) jumped 33%, and iRobot (IRBT) shed 23%.

Futures action: After busting out of a short-term consolidation on Monday amid news the White House was ending a waiver program that allowed certain countries to buy Iranian oil,2 June WTI crude oil (CLM9) traded as high as $66.60/barrel on Tuesday before pulling back the remainder of the week—and, finally, tanking more than 3.5% to $62.90 on Friday after President Trump admonished OPEC to weaken oil prices.3 June gold (GCM9) dropped as low as $1,267.90/ounce on Tuesday, then bounced to end the week more around $1,288.

Coming this week

Get ready, in addition to an expanding flood of earnings, this week includes a Fed announcement on Wednesday and the jobs report on Friday:                                                              

Monday: Personal Income and Outlays

Tuesday: FOMC meeting starts, Employment Cost Index, S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller HPI, Consumer Confidence, Pending Home Sales Index

Wednesday: PMI Manufacturing Index, ISM Manufacturing Index, Construction Spending, FOMC meeting announcement

Thursday: Productivity and Costs, Factory Orders, EIA Natural Gas Report

Friday: Employment Report, International Trade in Goods, Retail Inventories, Wholesale Inventories, PMI Services Index, ISM Non-Manufacturing Index

With more than 800 companies scheduled to release earnings this week, the following list just scratches the surface. Along with Apple (AAPL) and Alphabet (GOOGL), highlights include brand-name consumer, energy, pharma, and semiconductor stocks:      

Monday: ON Semiconductor (ON), Spotify (SPOT), Alphabet (GOOGL), Electronics For Imaging (EFII), MGM Resorts (MGM), NXP Semi (NXPI)

●Tuesday: BP (BP), ConocoPhillips (COP), Eli Lilly (LLY), General Electric (GE), General Motors (GM) MasterCard (MA), McDonald's (MCD), Merck (MRK), Pfizer (PFE), Shopify (SHOP), Advanced Micro (AMD), Apple (AAPL), Exact Sciences (EXAS), Lattice Semi (LSCC), Maxim Integrated (MXIM)

●Wednesday: Clorox (CLX), CME Group (CME), CVS Health (CVS), Garmin (GRMN), Humana (HUM), L3 Technologies (LLL), Scientific Games (SGMS), Allstate (ALL), Kraft Heinz (KHC), Qorvo (QRVO), Qualcomm (QCOM), Square (SQ)

●Thursday: Abiomed (ABMD), DowDuPont (DWDP), Dunkin (DNKN), IntercontinentalExchange (ICE), Kellogg (K), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A), SAGE Therapeutics (SAGE), Worldpay (WP), Activision Blizzard (ATVI), Arista Networks (ANET), Gilead Sciences (GILD), GoDaddy (GDDY), Motorola Solutions (MSI), ResMed (RMD), U.S. Steel (X), Upland Software (UPLD), Intel (INTC), iQIYI (IQ), Juniper Networks (JNPR), Mattel (MAT), Starbucks (SBUX)

Friday: Cboe Global Markets (CBOE), Celgene (CELG), Fiat Chrysler (FCAU), Noble Energy (NBL), US Cellular (USM)

Go to the E*TRADE market calendar (logon required) for an up-to-date earnings schedule and a complete list of splits, dividends, IPOs, and economic reports. The Active Trader Commentary also lists earnings announcements, IPOs and economic report times each morning.

Ups and downs of early May. On Wednesday the calendar flips to May, which has often started out with a couple of up days (positive average returns), followed by three trading days that have all closed lower more than 50% of the time and have negative average returns.


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1 FactSet. Earnings Season Update: April 18, 2019. 4/18/19.

2 Bloomberg. Oil Market Confounded Again as Trump Surprises on Iran Sanctions. 4/22/19.

3 CNBC.com. Oil prices plunge 4% after Trump says he told OPEC to tame fuel costs. 4/26/19.

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