Monthly Market Commentary for March 2015
After a difficult start to 2015, domestic equities rallied in February to erase January losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 5.64% for the month while the S&P 500 rose 5.49% and are now up 1.74% and 2.21% for the year, respectively. Falling oil prices continued to damage the energy sector; however, 76% of companies in the S&P 500 reported earnings above analyst estimates.
Late in the month, Janet Yellen, chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, said the Fed would be flexible on setting interest rates, propelling domestic markets higher. Employment figures for January confirmed that 257,000 jobs had been added and numbers for November and December of last year were revised upward. This marks the 11th consecutive month that more than 200,000 jobs were created, the best streak since 1994.
After a strong January, bond prices fell in February as the yield on the 10 year U.S. Treasury finished the month at 2%, up from 1.67% at the beginning of the month. The Barclays Aggregate Bond Index fell 0.94%.
International markets showed little concern over the threat of Greece leaving the eurozone as the MSCI EAFE rose 5.98% for the month. MSCI Emerging Markets also had a positive month, climbing 2.98%. A last minute deal between the Greek government and the eurozone finance ministers resulted in a 4 month extension of the existing bailout agreement.