The economic data was on the weaker side in the first quarter with real GDP growing at 0.7% and nominal GDP growing around 3.0% at an annualized rate. Despite the weak GDP data, first quarter sales and earnings are inflecting higher. First quarter-to-date sales and earnings have increased 7.94% and 15.30%, respectively, with about 66% of S&P 500 companies reporting. The upturn in corporate prospects is led by the energy sector which is experiencing a bounce after energy prices crashed a year ago. It isn't just the energy sector, the improvement is broad-based and the only sector with declining earnings for the quarter-to-date is telecom. Strength is concentrated in the most cyclically sensitive sectors which should bode well for future growth. Additionally, earnings are outgrowing revenues indicating there is still operating leverage despite vastly improved labor markets. It is important that sales and earnings growth continue. Equity markets are not cheap here and it is unlikely that the market multiple will expand much. NPP feels rising markets must coincide with improving sales and earnings for the market to go higher. Quarter-to-date, company reports indicate that this may very well happen.