March was one of the best months in years for the major indexes and exchange traded funds (ETFs).

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 7.7% for March, but lost 12.2% this quarter. While no one is declaring the problems in the economy fixed, some strategists say that there’s at least a change in perception. Earnings season is now beginning, and many are nervous about what the reports will bring.

The S&P 500 rose 8.5% for the month and fell 10.4% for the quarter. The Nasdaq gained 10.9% in March, but lost 1.4% in the quarter.

The strongest sector for the month was solar energy, which rose 29%. For the quarter, gasoline was a standout, gaining 33.5%.

For a complete look at the month of March, as well as the first quarter of 2009, click through to see our March ETF Performance Report.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.