Please click here to read the April 2009 Market Commentary.
Investors looked through the gloom -- a historic bankruptcy by Chrysler, a potential flu-pandemic, and the worst U.S. economic growth reports in decades -- and focused on indications that the deep economic contraction around the world is lessening, banks are stabilizing and credit markets are easing.
April marked a second consecutive month of strong gains for riskier assets as the global economy showed more signs of stabilization. The S&P 500 Index rallied by 9.6%, while mid caps and small caps were even higher at +14.9% and +17.5%, respectively. Financial stocks led large caps higher, with industrials and materials not far behind, as cyclical sectors broadly outperformed defensives by a wide margin. International stocks joined the party with gains of 12.8%. Following a first-quarter drubbing of -33.9%, U.S. REITs soared a stunning 32.8% in April.
Although it remained in contraction territory, the U.S. ISM manufacturing index increased...