Monday, 3 April 2017

Wall Street's rock-solid quarter ends with a loss

Wall Street fell on Friday, pulled down by Exxon and JPMorgan Chase as investors wrapped up a strong quarter and weighed whether corporate earnings reports will justify the market's lofty valuations.

Major indexes have hit multiple record highs since the election of President Donald Trump on bets that he would improve economic growth by cutting taxes and boosting infrastructure spending. The rally has also benefited from robust economic data and a pickup in corporate earnings growth.

For the quarter ending Friday, the S&P 500 gained 5.5 percent, its strongest quarterly performance since the last quarter of 2015.
Investors are now looking to the upcoming quarterly earnings season to justify pricy valuations.


First-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to rise 10.1 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. The index is trading at about 18 times earnings estimates for the next 12 months, compared to its long-term average of 15.

"Valuations are as stretched as they ever get," said Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Robert W. Baird & Co in Nashville. "Certainly that's cause for concern if earnings don't grow the way they are anticipated to grow."

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Riyanshi

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