April 2012: The Month in Charts
April may, indeed, be the cruelest month, as T.S. Eliot once declared. At least, April 2012 dashed the hopes of many investors that the eurozone worries would remain on the back burner and that the U.S. stock market rally would continue to gain momentum. True, U.S. stocks didn’t lose all that much ground overall – the S&P 500 index wrapped up the month with a 0.8% decline – but after such a strong first quarter, signs of weakness rattled investors’ nerves and sent some fleeing back to the safe haven asset classes. Globally, the picture wasn’t much more robust, although the overall weakness masked a wide divergence in equity market returns. Going forward, the focus will remain on the eurozone and on corporate earnings, with the occasional anxious glance directed by investors in the direction of China, whose rate of economic growth is certainly slowing. Once again, as another month draws to a close, we offer you a set of charts capturing some of its highlights and focusing on the themes that are likely to dictate the market environment during May.
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