Volatility returned to the stock market in the first quarter. Stocks posted strong gains in January on the momentum of U.S. tax reform, but tumbled in February and March on signs of higher wage inflation and trade conflict between the U.S. and China.
Amid a backdrop of solid economic numbers and rising hopes for enactment of tax reform, stocks enjoyed substantial gains during the fourth quarter.
Stock markets continued to rally in the third quarter. Signs of broad-based global growth supported stocks, and company reports of sales and earnings were generally better than expected.
Stock markets continued their upward trajectory in the second quarter. Shares rallied on strong earnings reports and seemed unfazed by increasing political uncertainty, which clouds the outlook for tax reform and other pro-growth initiatives.
Broad U.S. equity market indexes rose in the first quarter, touching record highs before pulling back slightly at quarter-end.