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Quarter-End Insights

First-Quarter Market Insights in 8 Charts

Our market commentary covers the lasting impact of the Trump Administration’s trade policies, the rise of SPACs, and more.

U.S. equity markets surged higher in the first quarter of the year, riding the wave of larger-than-expected fiscal stimulus and progress on coronavirus vaccine distribution. Together, the second and third rounds of stimulus ($900 billion in the fourth quarter of 2020 and the $1.9 trillion relief package signed in March) add up to about 14% of U.S. gross domestic product--a level of spending that is unprecedented in U.S. history.

Even amid raised volatility, U.S. equity markets finished their strongest month since November. Value funds outperformed growth in both February and March, with February’s margin being the largest for value in 10 years. Meanwhile, even with easy-money commitments from the Federal Reserve, latent expectations rose for inflation, leading to losses in interest-rate-sensitive corners of the market.