The global stock market recorded a solid gain in the first quarter of 2021. The markets are finished in 2020 with a big bang having delivered one of the fastest recoveries in the history of the markets after the sell-off in March 2020.
The US stock indices, Dow Jones and S&P 500 climbed to fresh all-time highs in March driven by various stimulus measures and the quick rollout of covid-19 vaccines. While the Nasdaq100 shy to break new heights after it reached a record closing high on February 12 as the investors shift their focus to economic-recovery sensitive stocks and away from growth stocks.
Few best-performing US stocks in Q1 2021
GameStop (NYSE: GME)
Avis Budget Group (NASDAQ: CAR)
AutoZone (NYSE: AZO)
Home Depot (NYSE: HD)
Twitter (NYSE: TWTR)
Several factors behind the strong rally in global stocks
- The quick rollout of covid-19 vaccines appeared to be the primary driver of gains in the quarter.
- The US stimulus bill was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden, providing a $1.9 trillion boost to the economy.
- EU countries initiated another step toward financial integration with the approval of the EUR 1.8 trillion budget for 2021 to 2027, which also includes a EUR 750 billion coronavirus recovery fund.
- Markets also responded positively to the Democrats taking control of the Senate.
Dow hits 33k for the first time
The first quarter has been a profitable year for stocks in the Dow Jones Index. The Index increased by more than 3500 points, the rally was boosted a sharp rally in energy, financial and industrial stocks. On 18th March, the Dow surged above the major 33,000 resistance level for the first time in history, after the Federal Reserve said it expects to keep interest rates unchanged through 2023.
Biggest threats to the stock market in Q2
During the last week, the US indices Dow Jones and S&P 500 retreated from the record highs on concerns about the coronavirus pandemic in Europe. Meanwhile, the US indices rebounded back to the highs this week after U.S. President Joe Biden said that 90% of American adults would be eligible for coronavirus vaccines by April 19. On the other hand, the markets also climbed higher ahead of confirmation of President Biden infrastructure package of more than $3 trillion.
Here are the 4 main downside risks for investors in Q2.
- Rising covid-19 cases remain a top concern for markets, with total global infections exceeding 123 million. Especially in Europe, worsening infection rates are raising worries of a “third wave”.
- Any attempt to reform the US tax system has a tremendous impact on the performance of the stock market. On Tuesday, Treasury Secretary Yellen said the Biden administration was considering boosting the corporate taxes from the current 21% to 28% as the economy recovers from COVID-19.
- With increased government spending, we will probably see an increase in inflation.
- Another risk for equity markets is rising bond yields. The 10-year Treasury yield jumped 11 basis points above 1.75%, reaching its highest level since January 2020.
On the positive side, the Federal Reserve’s intention of keeping rates low through at least 2023 will continue to provide support for equities and the Covid vaccination programme is still on track despite some looming supply problems.
Considering all these above positive and negative points I advise everyone when you try to build a portfolio there should be at least some less-risky assets that can be useful in helping you ride out future up and downs in the market.