Major indices, with the exception of the Nasdaq, slightly increased in the month of April. The Russell 2000 led major indices with a gain of 0.6%, while the Nasdaq lagged with a flat return. Year to date, returns on the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), Nasdaq, and Russell 2000 are fairly mixed. Trailing-twelve-month returns are still in positive territory, thanks to strong returns in 2017.
Markets were generally aided by a strong earnings season. According to FactSet, of the more than half of S&P 500 companies that have reported, 79% have beat analyst expectations for earnings. Despite strong earnings, markets were volatile, reacting to fears of trade wars and treasury yields.