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The S&P 500 had a strong performance in the first quarter of the year, rising 10.2%, its best first-quarter gain since 2019. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also saw solid growth, advancing 5.6% for its strongest first-quarter performance since 2021. The Nasdaq Composite ended the quarter with a 9.1% increase. On a monthly basis, the S&P 500 was up by 3.1%, the Nasdaq added 1.8%, and the Dow climbed 2.1%, marking the fifth consecutive winning month for all three major indexes.

One of the key drivers of the market gains was Nvidia, a company in the artificial intelligence sector that saw its stock surge 82.5% for the quarter and 14.2% in March. The ongoing artificial intelligence craze has continued to fuel Nvidia’s stock performance, contributing to the overall market rally. Additionally, on the economic front, initial filings for unemployment insurance for the week ending March 16 came in slightly lower than expected at 210,000 compared to economists’ predictions of 211,000.

Market strategist Art Hogan noted that the upcoming week would bring more significant economic data releases, potentially acting as catalysts for market movements. Despite the markets being closed for Good Friday, the results of the personal consumption expenditures report, the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure, could impact market sentiment in the following week. Overall, the positive momentum in the markets has set a upbeat tone for investors as they head into the weekend.

The S&P 500 closed at 5,254.35, up 0.11%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 47.29 points, or 0.12%, settling at 39,807.37. Both indexes marked new record highs, with the S&P 500 hitting an all-time high during the session. The Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.12% to end at 16,379.46. The strong performance in the first quarter of the year has set a positive tone for investors, with the markets closing at record levels and posting significant gains.

Looking ahead, investors will be closely watching upcoming economic data releases and key reports, such as the personal consumption expenditures report, for insights into inflation and the overall health of the economy. The strong performance of Nvidia and other companies in the artificial intelligence sector may continue to drive market gains, as the AI craze shows no signs of slowing down. Overall, the first quarter of the year has been a strong one for the markets, and investors will be eager to see if the positive momentum can be sustained in the coming months.

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