Market volatility continues. Stocks slid on Friday, April 13th, but still held on to gains for the week.[1] The S&P 500 increased 1.99%; the Dow added 1.79%; and the NASDAQ was up 2.77%.[2] International stocks in the MSCI EAFE also rose, gaining 1.45%.[3]

Similar to recent weeks, international events continued to sway markets: concerns about trade disputes affected investor behavior. Meanwhile, escalating conflict in Syria may have weighed on people's minds.[4] 

As we track these developments, we want to share insight about another important occurrence from last week, the beginning of corporate earnings season. 

First Quarter Corporate Earnings Season

1. Expectations remain very high

Analysts anticipate a particularly strong earnings season. Thomson Reuters data predicts that S&P 500 companies' profits were 18.6% higher in the firstquarter of 2018 than in 2017. If accurate, this increase would be the largest since 2011.[5] 

So far, data seems on track. According to The Earnings Scout, first-quarter earnings growth is currently at 26.8%.[6]

2. Banks outperform but stocks drop

On Friday, three major banks released their reports, and each beat projections for earnings and revenue. Despite this positive news, however, their stocks experienced sizable declines that contributed to overall market losses. 

Why would strong quarterly results create stocks losses? 

The markets anticipated this positive performance and had already priced it into the shares.[7] As a result, any less-than-ideal news seemed to outweigh the expected earnings and revenue increases. In particular, two facts drove losses:[8] 

  • One bank may have to pay a $1 billion penalty 
  • All three banks experienced slow loan growth 

We are in the early stages of earnings season, and many major corporations still need to release their reports. In the coming weeks, we'll continue monitoring these developments to better understand our economy. As always, please contact us if you have questions about how the data affects your finances and life.  


  • Monday: Retail Sales, Housing Market Index
  • Tuesday: Housing Starts, Industrial Production
  • Thursday: Jobless Claims

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Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.

International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors.

The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.

The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies. 

The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indices from Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia. 

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