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First Quarter Results – 2012



Facts of Interest about the First Quarter



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first quarter 2012

April 02, 2012

Introduction

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and Standard & Poor's 500 Index (SPX) both had their best first-quarter gains since 1998: 8.1% and 12%, respectively.

The Nasdaq Composite Index (COMP) had its best 1st Quarter gain -- 18.7% -- since 1991.

Interesting Facts about the Results

The Winners and Losers for the First Quarter are as follows:-

Dow Jones industrials:

Bank of America (BAC) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM), up 72% and 38%, respectively.

Only three of the 30 Dow stocks were lower: Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Verizon Communications (VZ) and McDonald's (MCD).

S&P 500:

Sears Holdings (SHLD), up 108.5%; Bank of America; Netflix (NFLX), up 66%; Whirlpool (WHR), up 62% and Priceline.com (PCLN), up 53.4%.

Losers: supermarket operator SuperValu (SVU); for-profit college operator Apollo Group (APOL) and solar-panel maker First Solar (FSLR).

Nasdaq 100 (NDX):

Winners were Sears, handbag-merchant Fossil (FOSL), up 66.3% and Netflix.

Losers: Monster Beverage (MNST) and Apollo Group.

Apple’s Position in the First Quarter

Apple (AAPL) has been trading in quite a range! The stock was up 48% in the quarter, 10th-best among S&P 500 stocks and sixth among Nasdaq-100 stocks. It was up as much as 53% for the quarter on Wednesday before selling down Thursday and Friday last week. It was responsible for roughly 9% of the S&P 500's gain for the quarter and 27% of the Nasdaq-100's gain of 21% in the quarter.

This is a pricey stock. It finished the week at 42% above its 200-day moving average after reading a peak of 47% over the moving average on Wednesday. Its relative strength index is above 70, which is a sign it's overbought.

The Reason Behind Sears Profit

Sears has lost money for five straight quarters and is shopping its Lands' End catalog business. The answer for its’ profitability seems to be that allies of Chairman Edward Lampert want to support the stock, which had fallen to as low as $29.20 in late 2011, an 85% decline from its April 2007 peak. How long they can keep it up is another question!

Techs and Financial Stocks - Tops in the First Quarter

Apple was certainly the top runner, but Microsoft (MSFT) was up 24.3%, disc-drive maker Seagate Technology (STX) added 53.4% and Broadcom (BRCM) jumped 33.6%. However, none have a market cap like Apple's: $559.87 billion.

Bank of America, Regions Financial (RF), 53%, Citigroup (C), up 39%, and JPMorgan Chase were the top performers among banks.

Losers in the First Quarter

Utilities, bonds and bond funds definitely lost out in the first quarter. Interest rates rose in the quarter, with the 10-year Treasury yield rising to 2.216%, up from 1.87% at the end of 2011. The iShares Barclays 20+-Year Treasury Bond exchange-traded fund (TLT) fell 7.5% in the quarter. The Dow Jones Utilities Average (DJU) fell 1.2% in the quarter.

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