Memories of a brutal fourth-quarter haven’t been erased, but investors are breathing a sigh of relief with a reversal in the direction of stocks so far this year.
In fact, U.S. stocks have gotten off to their best start in 13 years.
The broad indexes pulled back slightly to close out the week. But through Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.02% is up 2.9%, after dropping 11.8% during the fourth quarter and declining 5.6% for all of 2018.
The S&P 500 index SPX, -0.01% has risen 3.6% so far in January, following a 14% plunge in the fourth quarter and a decline of 6.2% for 2018. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -0.21% is up 5.1% so far this year, after taking a 17.5% beating during the fourth quarter and falling a relatively modest 3.9% for all of 2018.
Fourth-quarter earnings season begins in earnest on Monday with Citigroup reporting, and results may well serve as a distraction from all the market jitters over Federal Reserve policy, trade conflict with China and the partial federal government shutdown.