This week in the markets

  • The S&P 500 had its best two-month start to the year since 1991. Analysts anticipate this may signal a strong 2019 for the stock market.
  • General Electric’s (GE) stock was down nearly 8% at Wednesday’s close after it released a not-so-flattering earnings report.
  • Target had a great fourth-quarter of 2018. The retailer reported a 5% growth in sales and its best year in a decade.

The S&P 500 has its best two-month start since 1991

The new year has been good to the stock market (so far). After having the worst December since the Great Depression, the S&P 500 had its best two-month start to the year since 1991. Many analysts anticipate that these numbers signal a strong 2019 for the stock market. There have been 30 years since 1938 when both January AND February saw stock market increases. Experts reported that 29 out of the 30 years resulted in an average stock market gain of 20%. That’s BIG! During February, the S&P 500 saw an increase of 7.9%, so we’re almost halfway there.

Although slightly down, the overall stock market was relatively calm this week. The S&P 500 fell 0.65%, the Nasdaq decreased 0.93%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.53% at Wednesday’s close.

GE is down nearly 8% after earnings report

General Electric’s (GE) shares were down nearly 8% at Wednesday’s close after it reported its industrial free cash flow would be negative for 2019. Free cash flow is defined as the money left over after a company pays for operating expenses and capital spending. This metric is often used to gauge the efficiency of a company and is watched closely by investors.

Individual stocks often face volatility, like what GE is currently experiencing. That’s why it may be best to diversify your portfolio using vehicles like exchange-traded funds (ETFs). MoneyLion members are diversified amongst five different ETFs, including the Vanguard S&P 500 ETF (VOO). The VOO tracks the S&P 500 Index, including 500 leading companies across the US economy. 😉

Target hit the bullseye: Sales up 5%

Target had a strong end to 2018, and its best year since 2005. Sales at Target stores (open for at least one year) grew 5% last year, and its digital sales grew 31%. The retail giant reported it got a boost in the fourth-quarter of 2018 from the growing economy. Target saw a market share increase in key categories like clothing and home furnishings. Bullseye! 🎯

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