US markets closed higher on Monday as investors conducted economic tests on the stock market. The Nasdaq was up 1.05 percent, the S&P 500 Index was up 0.65 percent, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.53 percent and the Russell 2000 Index was up 0.31 percent.

SPDR Consumer Discretionary (XLY) increased 1.34 percent, SPDR Utilities (XLU) increased 1.28 percent, and SPDR Technology (XLK) increased 1.07 percent.

Investors opted for high-quality names on Monday. iShares Edge MSCI Minimum Volatility USA (USMV) hit a new all-time high after rising 0.70 percent. Vanguard Dividend Appreciation (VIG) also hit a new all-time high, after rising 0.57 percent that day.

The Empire State Index, a measure of manufacturing activity in the New York Fed area, rose to 15.0 in March. That exceeded expectations and was well above the value of 12.1 in the previous month.

Retail sales are this week’s big economic data point. Economists forecast a 0.1 percent drop in sales in February, with sales excluding cars increasing 0.2 percent.

The National Association of Homebuilders will release their Homebuilder Trust Index on Tuesday. Analysts believe that soaring lumber prices, which are making new highs every day, are likely to weaken confidence from 84 in February to 83 in March. Building permits and housing start for February are also available this week.

SPDR Energy (XLE) fell 1.14 percent as crude oil fell that day. New lockdowns in Europe have rekindled concerns about demand. However, stocks remain near the 52-week high. XLE has increased more than 100 percent since early November.

The US dollar index gained ground on Monday, rising 0.20 percent. US government data showed that foreigners started buying US stocks and bonds in January. China also bought government bonds for the third straight month after selling for most of 2020. IShares MSCI Emerging Markets (EEM) rose 0.24 percent, aided by the technology rally that fueled Chinese tech stocks. iShares MSCI EAFE (EFA) rose just 0.08 percent as concerns about the lockdown piqued investors.

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