- The major U.S. equity indices pulled back sharply in March. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 13.6%, the S&P 500 was off 12.4%, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 10.1%. The spread of the coronavirus and the subsequent nationwide shutdown of non-essential businesses fueled the decline.
- Year-end 2020 and 2021 consensus earnings for the S&P 500 have been coming down over the last few weeks and will likely continue to fall as companies report Q1 earnings and discuss the impact of the nationwide shutdown. Analysts’ consensus estimates for the S&P 500 earnings are currently $149 for 2020 and $177 for 2021. We are presently forecasting $127 for 2020 and $157 for 2021.
- The oil industry remains under pressure as the price of a barrel of oil collapsed in March. WTI crude began the month at $47 per barrel and closed out the quarter at $21 per barrel. The global travel shutdown and OPEC’s lack of sufficient production cuts led to the decline.
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