Market Digest \u2013 Week Ending 4\/15\r\n\r\nQ1 earnings are expected to decline by over 8%, led by energy. So while it is tough to be enthusiastic heading into this quarter\u2019s earnings season, the first week yielded positive market returns. Investors found support in a lack of surprises by major banks including JP Morgan, Bank of America and Wells Fargo. On the economic front, inflation numbers remained benign and the job market remains strong. International stocks outpaced the US and have nearly closed the gap for the year.\r\n\r\nWeekly Returns:\r\n\r\nS&P 500: 2,081 (+1.6%)\r\nFTSE All-World ex-US: (+3.3%)\r\nUS 10 Year Treasury Yield: 1.75% (+0.04%)\r\nGold: $1,234 (-0.5%)\r\nUSD\/EUR: $1.128 (-1.1%)\r\n\r\nMajor Events:\r\n\r\n\u2022 Monday \u2013 Alcoa kicked off earnings season on a down note. Profit fell 92% due to lower aluminum prices and the company announced it will cut up to 2,000 jobs.\r\n\u2022 Tuesday \u2013 The Wall Street Journal reported banks have over $140 billion in unfunded loans to energy companies but earnings announcements by major banks downplayed the issue.\r\n\u2022 Wednesday \u2013 Peabody Energy filed for bankruptcy. It was the last major public coal company that had not already filed.\r\n\u2022 Wednesday \u2013 Producer prices fell 0.1% in March, signaling inflation remains absent.\r\n\u2022 Thursday \u2013 BP shareholders rejected an executive pay policy which would have given CEO Bob Dudley a 20% raise after a year where the company lost $5 billion.\r\n\u2022 Thursday \u2013 Initial claims for jobless benefits fell to its lowest level since 1973, suggesting a strong labor market.\r\n\u2022 Friday \u2013 Oil prices fell ahead of a highly anticipated weekend meeting between OPEC leaders and Russia in expectation that no major production limit deals will be announced.\r\n\r\nOur take:\r\n\r\nWhen it comes to the stock market, everyone has an opinion. Right now, almost no one is predicting a big up year for stocks. High valuations, fears of global economic slowdown, and uncertainty around China have undercut optimism. We\u2019re included. For most of this bull market we highlighted major positive drivers for stocks. For this year, we see a balance of bullish and bearish factors and have no outlook on market direction.\r\n\r\nThe stock market often takes the least expected path. This makes sense because investors have already voted with their money. Expectations are therefore mostly already incorporated into current prices and the path of least resistance can be the one the fewest people are betting on.\r\n\r\nNone of this means stocks must go up. But don\u2019t rule it out. Stocks rose this week on little news. That\u2019s what bull markets like to do.