Market Commentary – Noon

March 30, 2001 - Stocks are churning in a narrow range, with blue chips showing some strength in end-of-quarter portfolio adjusting. The broader list is struggling as the March Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index and Chicago PMI painted a mixed picture of the economy.

The DJIA is up 46 at 9846 as Intl Bus. Machines (IBM), Philip Morris Cos (MO), and oils rise. Nasdaq is off 3 at 1818, up from a low of 1794. NYSE breadth is 17-11 positive; Nasdaq breadth is 17-15 negative. Trading is moderate. Short-term technicals are bullish.

Bonds are up. The dollar is mixed. Oil futures are off.

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“The economic slowdown is necessary and healthy as excess inventories are reduced,” said Thomas White, manager of Thomas White American Opportunity Fund (TWAOX). White thinks the stock market “is smarter than any economist,” because it anticipated the changed business cycle. The economy should be “flat” this year and pick up in 2002, according to White.

Since the stock market is a leading indicator, it should start climbing earlier, probably in May, White predicts. He noted that historically, the stock market usually bottoms out in May and September. A May turnaround would be reasonable, in White’s view, because the market decline would then reach the 14-month point.

Market Action

S&P 5001152.51 +4.56
NASDAQ Composite1817.73 -2.84
Dow Jones Industrial Average9845.54 +46.48
10-Year Treasury Yield4.91% (previous close, 4.98%)

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