Banks had a nice recovery from the last 2 days of declines. After getting clobbered in Sep-Jan, the S&P 500 FINANCIALS INDEX has been trading sideways in the last 2 months. Trading has been very choppy, but generally above 100.
MLPs, REITs & junk bond funds participated in the gains. The Alerian MLP Index closed up 2½ at 191, returning to the 190-200 range where it has spent much of this year. REITs have not participated in the Mar stock market rally. The index was up 7½ today to 101 but hasn't been able to stray far from par in Mar. There are good values with very high yields for those who can separate the wheat from the chaff. Junk bonds had nice gains today, concluding a good month after losing ground in Jan-Feb. Following yesterday's big decline, oil rose almost 1 to the 49s.
MLPs & REITs have a much different story in the last 6 months. MLPs, after having a rough go of it in Sep -Nov (Sep isn't shown but the index lost 15%), have been fighting their way back. Headwinds have been strong, but it's up 15 (off a very depressed level) in Q1. REITs have not seen a let up in selling, losing 30% in Q1. In the last month, they have underperformed the Dow.
Alerian MLP Index vs Dow
Dow Jones REIT Index vs Dow
Dow started the qtr (& year) at 8776 & concluded at 7609, down 13%. It would have been worse without the recovery in Mar. The end of the qtr means earnings are around the corner. Dow stock Alcoa (AA) next week gives the first report & expectations are low. However, AA had a nice pop today (up 65¢ or 10%) on takeover speculation.
The S&P 500 rose 10% in Mar, cutting the loss for the qtr to "only" 10%. The strong markets were led by bank stocks recovering from deeply depressed levels. Earnings & guidance from banks in April will be especially important, again expectations are very low.