Stocks: Great First Quarter & What to Expect for the Second Quarter - Quicken Loans Zing BlogStocks celebrated the closing of the first quarter (from January 1, 2012 to March 31, 2012) on Friday with the best gains in more than a decade.

The numbers here are truly remarkable: 7.00 percent growth for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, 12.00 percent growth for the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq Composite skyrocketed 19.00 percent.

In the sports world, when a player has an unbelievable game, we call it having “video game numbers,” meaning those numbers would only be possible when playing video games (see Rajon Rondo).

If the stock market had a video game, those would be video game numbers.

Hey – that’s not a bad idea. Limited market, but could be a big seller. Get at me, Electronic Arts.

Before we dive into the numbers, I am compelled to tell you that I am an overt optimist. I always have been, and I always will be.

I am a firm believer that the Detroit Lions will make it to the Super Bowl within the next five years, if that is any indication.

Just like any economic data, you can view it on both sides of the coin – there will always be good and bad.

I’m focusing on the good. So let’s take a look at it.

The influx in gains isn’t that crazy when you think about all of the factors that determine the market.

The most recent report on the job market showed the four-week moving average of jobless claims is at 354,000. Any time you can fall under the 400,000 mark is huge, because it signals that hiring is taking off.

Spending is on the rise as well. Retail sales rose 1.1 percent in February and spanned across the entire retail market.

Plus, the European debt crisis, which dominated headlines for months leading up to the New Year, has sort of fallen off a little bit and has not influenced the market as negatively as it did toward the end of 2011.

Barreling into the second quarter, I would have to take a stab and predict another strong quarter. Inflation seems to be in check, the Fed maintains that interest rates will be near zero, and the Fed will continue its easy monetary policy.

Also, even though it only pertains to one index, the S&P 500 has risen every April for the past five years, according to CNN Money.

At the same time, how could we expect the markets to continue the same pace throughout the next three months? Unpredictable global occurrences can easily halt any positive momentum in the market.

If I were a betting man, I would definitely take a prop-bet on the markets keeping this momentum up through the second quarter, but not have nearly as positive of a quarter as the first.

That’s just me, though.


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