The stock market rallied in the first quarter as the market focused on improving economic data in the U.S. If this sounds familiar, it should as this was the third straight year the first quarter has been good for stocks. In 2010 and 2011 a first quarter stock run-up was followed by a continued move higher into late April. In both years the markets then turned their attention to trouble in Euroland and began to falter, with declines of the S&P 500 of over 16% in both cases.
We certainly do not know if this trend will continue this year but it would not be a surprise to see Europe come back into focus.
This past Friday Greece’s Prime Minister said Greece may need a third bailout package. Greece is currently in shambles and I don’t believe there is a credible plan in place to help revive their economy.
In addition to Greece, the Unemployment Rate in the Eurozone reached a 15-year high of 10.8% in February. This was the 10th straight monthly increase in unemployment and forecasts have this rate continuing to increase. This is highly problematic for Euro leaders trying to convince the public to support austerity measures (less government spending, more government layoffs, etc). Stay tuned…