The March quadruple “witching hour” of options expirations on individual stocks, indices, futures and ETF’s did not cause negativity today at the market’s close today. The DOW held up nicely, gaining 72 points to end at 24,946. The index had help to the upside from CAT, GD, GS, 3M, WMT and BA. The S&P 500 gained 4 points and the NASDAQ barely made it into the green with a fractional gain. The NASDAQ was pulled down by AMZN, BKNG, ISRG, TSLA and GOOG which finished poorly today.

Breadth numbers were almost 2 to 1 on the upside and the VIX was lower to 15.80 for a loss of .79.

Bond yields were higher with the 10-year Treasury Note up to 2.85% while the 2-year Note was nearly 2.3%…keeping the yield curve tight at .55%. This is not a good sign in anticipation of the Fed’s interest rate raising decision on Wednesday. The Euro was lower again down to 1.2285 and the Japanese yen was lower at 106.04.  The lower Euro caused gold to sell off down to $1,313 an ounce on the statement yesterday from Mr. Kudlow that he likes a stronger dollar. Crude oil was higher at $62.32 a barrel as it found support once again at $60 a barrel.

This week has brought forth some important economic reports: Yesterday – February import prices rose by 0.4%, weekly jobless claims fell back toward a 50-year low with a decline of 4K down to 226K, March NAHB Homebuilder Sentiment declined for the third month in a row to the lowest level since last November and both the March Philadelphia Fed and March NY State Empire Manufacturing Surveys increased, a positive sign the economy; Today – February housing starts fell by more than expected at a decline of 7%, February industrial production rose to the highest level since last October at 1.2% and the preliminary University of Michigan March Consumer Sentiment Survey rose to 102 which is a 14-year high. These reports on how inflation is faring could be a big factor in determining how the Fed will word its interest rate increase statement next week.

The overall bull market is now in its 107th straight month. This compares to the average length of 59 months for the 11 bull markets since 1949. It is now the second longest bull market in history trailing only the 1987-2000 record length of time. The S&P now trades and 19 times estimated earnings of $141 for 2018.

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.