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Another Quarter of Gains for the U.S. Equity Market

Value drives U.S. equity market gains in the first quarter.

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U.S. equity markets finished up in 2021’s first quarter but not without some bumps. The Morningstar US Market Index rose 6.0% for the year through March, with value leading the way for a change. The Morningstar US Small, Mid, and Large Value indexes gained 20.8%, 16.5%, and 9.3%, respectively, through March 31. Growth stocks across the market-cap spectrum, on the other hand, posted losses for the period. High-flying large-growth companies from 2020 faced challenges. Zoom Video Communications (ZM), ServiceNow (NOW), Tesla (TSLA), and MercadoLibre (MELI) each fell in the first quarter, though they still sit miles ahead of their prepandemic levels.

The year had a volatile start. The Morningstar US Market Index fell in January as titans gave back 2020 gains. A social-media-fueled frenzy launched GameStop (GME) from about $17 on Jan. 5 to a $348 Jan. 28 peak, squeezing professional investors who had been shorting the moribund retailer. Then good vaccine news, dovish interest-rate signals from Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell, and positive economic news lifted stocks for the rest of the quarter.

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Claire Butz has a position in the following securities mentioned above: AAPL. Find out about Morningstar’s editorial policies.