THE RECOVERY BROADENS, From Bob Doll, vice chairman and chief equity strategist for fundamental equities at BlackRock
Equities advanced again last week, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbing 1.0% to 10,850, the S&P 500 Index advancing 0.6% to 1,167 and the Nasdaq Composite rising 0.9% to 2,395. The highlight of the coming week will be the March payrolls report. Recent declines in unemployment claims, coupled with hiring trends for temporary workers (including the addition of 75,000 census workers), have many guessing that somewhere around 200,000 jobs will have been created. As a reference point, roughly 115,000 jobs need to be added per month in order to keep the unemployment rate flat. Before too long, we should also see some indications of first-quarter earnings and gross domestic product (GDP) growth. For earnings, we have seen several quarters of positive surprises and we are expecting the same for the first quarter of 2010. Meanwhile, GDP data should further evidence the ongoing recovery and we expect that by the third quarter of this year the United States will have moved from recovery to expansion mode.
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