“Sell in May, go away” wasn’t a winning strategy last month. Investors regained interest in Nasdaq stocks, giving the index its strongest gains since February. The Russell 2000, which along with the Nasdaq had been pummeled in April, also managed to eke out a positive performance in May. Meanwhile, by the end of the month, both the S&P 500 and the Dow had set new record closing highs, even shrugging off a disappointing Q1 GDP report. And renewed confidence in emerging markets helped power gains in the Global Dow; for the second straight month, it had the second-best year-to-date performance of the five indices in the table below.
Bonds continued to rally, sending the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield to its lowest level since last June. After bouncing around on either side of $1,300 an ounce, gold resumed the downward path it’s been on since mid-March; a nearly $50-an-ounce loss in May’s final week took it to roughly $1,245. Meanwhile, oil prices rose solidly above $103 a barrel and settled there for much of the month.