Stocks Down, Bonds Down, Oil & Gold Up: The 1st Quarter’s Price Charts

close up shot of a digital stock market tracking graph follwing a recent crash in prices. Bear … [+] market 3D illustration


It’s mostly about inflation, the kind that was thought to be transitory last year but then turned out to be more than transitory.

It’s the inflation of oil prices that really kicked in during the 1st quarter and that stems from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the economic sanctions that followed and the general uneasiness of the geopolitical reality, to put it mildly.

Money flowed into assets thought to be more trustworthy than other assets and thus we have a lower equity market, a lower bond market, a raging higher petroleum market and a reawakened precious metals market.

Here’s the daily chart of the S&P 500:

S&P 500 daily price chart, 4 3 22.

It’s a great chart if you’re a volatility trader, maybe. If you’re an investor, these kinds of moves can be unsettling. From a January peak of up above 4800 to a late February low of 4125 and then a blast back upward — but not all the way back upward, not by a long shot. A close of about 4530 by the end of the quarter is not exactly reassuring.

Here’s the NASDAQ

-100 daily price chart

NASDAQ-100 daily price chart, 4 3 22.

The index with the big name, big tech stocks is similar at first look to the S&P 500 chart, but note that it fell much further in percentage terms. That March drop is a successful retest of the late February low but rally from there has failed to come close to the January highs. It’s notable that the well-known tech leaders which make up most of the NASDAQ-100 are no longer making the “out performing” lists.

Here’s the widely-followed iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF daily price chart:

iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF daily price chart, 4 3 22.

Not exactly an alternative to stocks, huh? This bond benchmark peak at just above 154 in December and began a serious descent into and through 2022’s 1st quarter. It got down to the 128 level in late March before bouncing. Now, there’s talk of how an inverted yield curve (the relationship of the 10-Year Note to the 2-Year) is now suggestive of a recession on the way.

The daily price of oil chart looks like this:

$WTIC daily price chart, 4 3 22.

It’s been a rollercoaster ride for the 1st quarter in the oil market. Here’s West Texas Crude moving from an early January price of 75 all the way up to above 130 and then back down to just below 95 and then back up to 115 and then down to around 100. This is the effect of Russia’s idiotic invasion of neighboring Ukraine and the effect of the economic sanctions on Moscow that followed.

Here’s the daily price chart for gold:

$GOLD daily price chart, 4 3 22.

The yellow metal in the 1st quarter proved again that it’s where a lot of people go when more than the usual amount of uncertainty arises. That’s 1800 at the beginning of January, a retest of that area later in the month and then the straight-up, unstoppable stuff until mid-March. Gold hit above 2000 before sellers finally stepped up and brought it back to 1900 before that small bounce at the quarter’s end.

So, inflation assets win while equity and bond assets lose as 2022 kicks off. It’s an old story and it’s being replayed yet again.

Not investment advice. For educational purposes only.

More analysis and charts at my website right here:

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