In typical fashion, the last trading day of the quarter proved to be a negative one. The first quarter of 2017 ended with a positive DOW index up 5.19%…its sixth straight quarterly advance along with the S&P 500 index. The NASDAQ has been the upside hero so far this year with a 10.13% gain for the quarter…its best showing since 2013. The primary reason was that the technology group has risen this year by 12% with AAPL, AMZN, FB, NFLX and PCLN leading the way at their best-ever levels.

Today brought a small sell-off with the DOW losing 13, the S&P down 3, and the NASDAQ falling 17 points. 

The March ISM Manufacturing Survey declined from 57.7 to 57.2. Several states made legal challenges to the administration’s attempt to block energy efficient standards, which would once again show the difficulty of getting their agenda passed. Finally, there were the disappointing March auto sales figures. Investors could probably see this coming as both F and GM have done poorly lately. The exception is TSLA which is roaring ahead as its deliveries well-exceeded expectations.

The downside today was led by the financials. Bond yields continued to decline with the 10-year Treasury at 2.34%. In addition, there were losses in CAT, DD, 3M as these have done well this year and are vulnerable. On the upside were AMZN with a new high over 890. Other NASDAQ winners today were BIDU, GOOG, and PNRA at a new high on a potential takeover offer.

Breadth numbers were negative at a 10/18 downside ratio. The VIX was loving this with a gain over 13.10, then settling into the close by a fraction at 12.38.

The dollar was weaker on the lower interest rate scenario with the Euro at 106.7 and the Japanese yen down to 110.95 to the dollar. Gold was higher at $1,255 an ounce while crude oil fell to $50.25 a barrel.

Donald M. Selkin

These are excerpts from Don Selkin’s Daily Market Notes, abbreviated and updated with permission from the author. Don Selkin is the Chief Market Strategist at Newbridge Securities Corporation, member FINRA/SIPC and provides the Fair Value analysis for CNBC each morning.  The commentary provided in this Market Letter is intended to provide timely market analysis and should not be considered a research report.  This Market Letter may contain, and is limited to: Discussions of broad based indices; Commentaries on economic, political or market conditions; Technical analyses concerning the demand and supply for a sector, index or industry based in trading volume and price; Statistical summaries of multiple companies’ financial data, including listings of current ratings; and, Recommendations regarding increasing or decreasing holdings in particular industries or securities.  This Market Letter does not make a financial or investment recommendation or otherwise promotes a product or service of the firm.   This Market Letter contains only news, facts, and commentary on information previously reported from a news source believed to be accurate and reliable by the author.  These news sources include the following: Bloomberg Financial, Reuters, and the Associated Press.