The U.S. economy expanded at a 2.3% annual rate in the first quarter. While this beat analyst expectations, growth was at a slower pace compared to the 2.9% rate seen in Q4 2017. The economy continues to plod along with consumer sentiment elevated and unemployment low.
Yields across the curve continued to increase and the 10-year Treasury crossed the 3% mark in April for the first time since 2014. Expectations of increasing inflation pressures have pushed yields higher so far this year with rates up around 0.5% from year end.
Earnings growth for members of the S&P 500 have been strong so far this year. With just over half of members reporting results, 79% of companies have beaten EPS expectations. The market response so far, however, has been muted.
Oil prices surged over the past two months, partly due to falling inventories and continued strong demand from a growing global economy. OPEC extended their production cuts which should also support higher prices over the near term. Increasing oil prices have helped fuel a rebound in energy associated companies, with the S&P 500 Energy sector up over 9% in April.