April turned out to be a so-so month for stocks: The S&P 500 gained a minuscule 0.27 percent in April, and the Dow Jones industrial average was up 0.5 percent for the month, its third straight up month.
But for a while it looked like we were going to do better than that. As of April 20, the S&P was already up more than 2 percent on the month, but it gave back nearly all those gains before the month was out. It's now up an anemic 1.05 percent for the year.
The reason that is concerning is because the first four months of the year are traditionally big gainers for the market. Now we've arrived at May, and the infamous recommendation “Sell in May and go away.” Given that pattern, it would have been nice to solidify the gains we saw in early April.