Week in Review

The stock market finished the week on a generally soft note. Except for a small gain on Monday, the Dow Industrials fell in the next four trading sessions, giving up about 0.5% on the week. The S&P 500 didn’t fare much better, shedding about 0.4%, but the NASDAQ was able to find some support gaining 0.3%, thanks to strength in technology. Market breadth was negative with some 17 stocks down for every 13 up on the NYSE. A small bounce in oil prices, allowed the energy sector to eke out a small gain, but virtually all other sectors were in the red, led by basic materials, financials and industrials. The transportation average was hit with a 2% loss for the week.

       Brick and mortal retailers were in the headlines, with large price drops for the likes of Macy’s, Nordstrom’s and J.C. Penny. Consumers have been shopping more with their hands than feet, as online buying continues to outperform. Retail sales for April inched up a less-than-expected 0.4%. The multi-line retail sector has lost about 15% so far this year vs. a 7% gain in the S&P 500. Real estate investment trusts with large holdings in malls and shopping centers are trading negative for the year in sympathy. Retail behemoth Walmart Stores will release first quarter results on Thursday and will be a figure to watch.

       U.S. stock prices have been holding up relatively well so far in May, though it remains to be seen if the market, which is near high ground, can advance further. With earnings season for the first quarter in the rear-view mirror, investors are reassessing valuations. Technically, equities seem to be running into some resistance, as they attempt to move further north. Recent softness keeps the S&P 500 Index just below the 2,400 mark and the Dow under 21,000. However, we shall see what the week ahead holds on both the corporate and political fronts.

       To all the Mom’s out there ~ Have a great Mother’s Day.

Here is the answer to last week’s trivia question:The ticker symbol “ICE” belongs to what company? Reddy Ice Holdings, Icelandair Group, Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. or Friedrich Air Conditioning Co. Answer: Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.

Today’s Trivia Question: The largest “pure play” pharmaceutical company by revenue is? Pfizer Inc., Novartis International AG, Merck & Co. or Roche Holding AG.

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