March 5, 2012 3:58 am
Other findings from the report include:
• Overall, analysts in North America expect the S&P 500 Index to report very low growth of 0.82% in the first quarter of 2012, with a forecast of 3.26% growth for the consumer discretionary sector and 2.38% for the consumer staples sector.
• The dramatic increase in Apple's share price has generated interest in the latest of a long and fairly infrequent string of S&P 500 market capitalization leadership changes. Apple is the 11th issue to hold market capitalization leadership since 1926
• As the eurozone continues to struggle with its debt crisis, default risk, though moderating, remains built in to credit default swap (CDS) spreads for many of those sovereigns. But the risk premium in the five-year CDS for the U.S. has declined to levels not seen since mid-2010, which we think reflects the credit market's confidence in the U.S. economy.
• IPO activity increased in February as 17 offerings, excluding REITs and closed-end funds, were priced, raising $1.46 billion. Given the abundance of IPOs in the month, those recently priced issues found themselves among the performance leaders so far this year. Private equity-backed industrial machinery company Proto Labs Inc. now ranks as the top gainer among the early crop of 2012 IPOs, according to S&P Capital IQ.
• Commodity market performance and spiking petroleum prices in February have sparked uncertainty about early 2012 optimism as potential economic implications remain unclear. Industrial metals remained the best performing sector at the end of February, but petroleum prices have rallied, reintroducing geopolitical risk into the marketplace.
Published with permission from RISMedia.