Can S&P 500 Bounce From 1850?

Stock indexes snapped a three-day skid with mild gains Tuesday, a move that allowed the S&P 500 to close clear of a key technical level at 1850. Its pursuit of 1900 has been slow going as Q1 wrapped and Q2 kicked off. Market nerves eased Tuesday, which could bode well for a fresh charge higher among leading stock indices. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), the market’s “fear gauge,” briefly pushed through to multi-week intraday highs above 16 but closed below 15. The question is, can the rebound hold with the week’s biggest events still on tap?

Minutes on the Hour. This afternoon, 2 p.m. Eastern to be exact brings the release of the Federal Reserve’s March monetary policy meeting notes. We may see volatility increase throughout the day as this release is usually met with some market jitters. You’ll recall March was the meeting that newbie Chair Janet Yellen tried to be helpful but vague in answering a reporter’s question and ended up being too specific about interest-rate timing. She essentially (if accidentally) shortened the rate-hike timeline that Wall Street was operating under. Since then, Fed officials have publicly encouraged a view that the first interest-rate hike won’t happen until at least the second half of 2015. Most commentary indicates the minutes will back that view. Late Tuesday, dovish-leaning Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said there is a risk that policy makers “withdraw … accommodative policies prematurely” simply as a result of rates having been so low, for so long.

Solid Start. Alcoa (AA) set an upbeat tone after it headlined with a loss but delivered in the details, beating with adjusted profits late Tuesday. It is, if anything, a psychological coup for the bulls as more than 90 companies in the S&P 500 have warned that profits will miss Street forecasts, according to The Wall Street Journal and FactSet data.

Next Up. Due out later, with significance not only for shareholders but for a broader market read on retail sentiment, are Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) and Constellation Brands (STZ). The week’s key earnings releases will be the Friday morning reports from banks Wells Fargo (WFC) and JP Morgan Chase (JPM).     Good trading,   JJ