March Market Wrap: Solid Finish Extends Investor Optimism Into Q2 –

Stocks delivered decent results in March and the first quarter. That's the bottom line. The and enjoyed their best returns for the month of March since 2016. And based on the S&P 500's show-stopping 4,000 on Thursday to close out the week and start the second quarter, and Friday's hugely bullish reports on along with Tesla's (NASDAQ:) better-than-expected , stocks stand a good chance of opening higher on Monday at the very least. They could also continue moving higher unless the COVID-19 virus derails the economic recovery that Wall Street is anticipating. Gains for the major US indices during the first quarter—7.8% for the Dow, 5.8% for the S&P 500 and 2.8% for the —were a vast improvement over the calamity the benchmarks endured during 2020's first quarter. At that time, the Dow fell 23.2%, the S&P 500 dropped 20% and the NASDAQ slumped by 14.2%. However, the same indices failed to match the made during the fourth quarter of 2020. As of Wednesday's close, the S&P was up 81.3% from its Mar.

23, 2020, low—and 487.3% from its close on Mar. 9, 2009, its lowest finish during the 2008-09 financial crisis. Still, despite the monthly and quarterly gains, investors had plenty more...