First Quarter 2016: How Did the Stock Market Do?

First Quarter 2016: How Did the Stock Market Do? The stock market had its ups and downs during the first quarter of 2016, beginning with the worst January in stock market history. By mid-February, however, investors saw five straight weeks of gains. Things had improved, but by the end of the quarter, the major indices ended up closing mixed. See the numbers and major factors that affected the market during the first quarter.

First Quarter 2016 How Did the Stock Market Do

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The First Quarter 2016 ended on March 31, 2016.  After a volatile few months, beginning with the worst January in stock market history, the three major indices closed mixed for the quarter.  Some of the causes of the volatility were the weakness in foreign emerging markets, struggling oil prices which put a drag on the energy sector, and uncertainty about when the Fed might raise interest rates again.

Below are the closing numbers for the quarter, including how they changed between the end of the fourth quarter 2015 and the end of the first quarter 2016, as well as how much they have dropped from their most recent highs in 2015.  Below that is additional data on the quarter.

Dow Jones Industrial Averages:

End of 2015:  17,425.03

March 31, 2016: 17,685.09  (+260.06 or +1.49 percent change this year)

52 Week High:  18,351.40  (today’s close is down -666.31  or -3.63 percent below 2015 high)

S & P 500:

End of 2015:   2,043.94

March 31, 2016:   2,059.74  (+15.80 or +0.77 percent change this year)

52 Week High:  2,134.72  (today’s close is down -74.98 or -3.51 percent below its 2015 high)


End of 2015:  5,007.41

March 24:  4,869.85  ( -137.56 or -2.75 percent change this year)

52 Week High:  5,231.94  (today’s close is down -362.09 or -6.92 percent below its 2015 high)

  • The Dow and S&P 500 managed to increase in value slightly during the quarter, by 1.49 and .77 percent, respectively; the Nasdaq is down 2.75 percent for the first quarter.
  • At the beginning of the quarter, in January, the Dow had dropped 11 percent before coming back in March.  The swing was so wide that the Dow Jones industrial average saw its biggest quarterly comeback since 1933.
  • This was the first negative First Quarter for the Nasdaq since 2009.
  • The best performing industries during the quarter were precious metals and casinos.  Analysts believe that gold did well because of the volatility early in the quarter.  High volatility and economic concerns often drive investors into precious metals.  Gold prices rose 16.5 percent.  This was the best quarter for gold in about 30 years.
  • At the end of the quarter, the economy was continuing to add approximately 200,000 jobs a month, unemployment was at 5 percent, and employees were seeing wage growth, which was up 2.3 percent in March.
  • Most of the new jobs that were being added to the economy were in retail, construction and healthcare.  Manufacturing was continuing to lose jobs, both to out-sourcing and new technology which reduces the need for employees to perform repetitive jobs.  More focus in being put into jobs that are service jobs, such as retail, or require higher skills, such as constructions and healthcare.
  • The dramatic change in the stock market from January to March meant that the majority of investors who were discouraged early in the year were finally able to show a profit in March.

Below are Upcoming Economic Reports Which Will Affect the Second Quarter of 2016

Economic Reports in April

  • April 1 – Employment Situation for March 2016
  • April 5 – Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for Feb. 2016
  • April 8 – America’s Young Adults at 29: Labor Market Activity, Education, and Household Composition
  • April 14 – Consumer Price Index for March 2016
  • April 22 – Employment Characteristics of Families Annual 2015 report
  • April 28 – College Enrollment and Work Activity of High School Graduates Annual 2015 report
  • April 29 – Employment Cost Index First Quarter 2016

Economic Reports in May

  • May 6 – Employment Situation for April, 2016
  • May 10 – Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for March, 2016
  • May 13 – Producer Price Index for April 2016
  • May 17 – Consumer Price Index for April 2016

Resources: and

Charts and statistics from: and CNNMoney

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