- Fixed Income and Commodities Markets In the third quarter, interest rates fell and the U.S. investment grade bond market rose 0.2%. U.S. government bonds, viewed as a safe-haven by global investors, did well. Corporate and high yield bonds had modest declines for the quarter as the difference in their yields relative to U.S. treasury bonds (or their “spreads”) widened.
- Capital Markets Thaw in 2nd Quarter 2014 Throughout the second quarter of 2014, stocks rallied from a chilly first quarter performance. Lackluster returns in the first quarter were feared to be the beginning of the long-awaited “correction” in global stocks. Instead, the slow beginning to the year turned out to be a temporary case of frostbite in the global equity market.
- Global Stock Market Momentum Slows – But Does Not Stop Few expected that stock markets would continue to climb at the dizzying pace of 2013, when global equities were up 24%. Indeed, the new year rang in with some volatility in January, as investors fretted over fresh geopolitical risks as well as concern over economic growth prospects in the U.S., Japan, and Europe.
- Global Stock Markets Drive Higher in 2013 Developed market stocks around the world had an exceptional year in 2013. Stock market returns were driven higher by better-than-expected economic growth in the second half of the year in the U.S. and Europe, decent corporate earnings, and central bank stimulus.
- Global Capital Markets Trend Higher in 3rd Quarter In late May and into June, stock and bond markets witnessed increased volatility. The trepidation in the market was mainly centered on comments made by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke raising the possibility of an earlier-thanexpected tapering of the Fed’s bond buying program, known as Quantitative Easing.
- Spring 2013 Market Volatility Appears to be Short-Lived After a strong start to 2013, volatility returned to stock and bond markets in May and June. Some of the volatility was undoubtedly generated by comments from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke related to the potential tapering of the Fed’s monetary stimulus program.
- Equity Markets – Momentum Continues in 2013 Global equity markets picked up the new year where they left off in 2012 – with solid upward momentum. After subdued growth in the 4th quarter, economic growth in the U.S. has strengthened.
- Global Equity Markets Strong in 2012; A Great Start for 2013, As Well After the sub-par stock market performance in 2011 (+2.1%), and given the myriad of investor concerns and the media portrayal of grave economic and political situations throughout 2012, many investors have the impression that global capital markets struggled in 2012. Yet, to their great surprise, global markets in 2012 had very strong returns coupled with a surprisingly calm market environment.
- Global Markets Favor Risk in 3Q 2012;
Lackluster Start to 4Q 2012
During the third quarter, the Federal Reserve announced additional monetary policy easing, dubbed “QE3”, and the European Central Bank stated it would do “whatever it takes” in support of the Euro. These stimulative policy moves coupled with merely average corporate earnings were enough to pull third quarter 2012 back towards a strong “risk on” investing environment. As we have seen in recent years, this sentiment is characterized by favoring “risky” asset classes over the safety of U.S. government bonds.
- “Risk-On” Sentiment Leads to Rally in 4th Quarter
In 2011, equity markets digested headlines ranging from the extremely negative (earthquake in Japan, US debt downgrade, Euro instability) to the rather positive (brightening US eco-nomic outlook, corporate earnings strength). This “tug of war” effect of the news cycle cre-ated a volatile market environment. In the last quarter of 2011, optimism about a Euro bailout and good projected US retail sales helped boost US equity returns for the year.
- 2010 Equity Market Momentum Continues Through 1st Quarter 2011
U.S. Mid/Small Cap stocks have performed tremendously since market lows in early 2009. In March, they touched their all-time highs last reached in 2007 as measured by the Russell 2000 Index. U.S. Large Cap equities also performed strongly during the first part of the year, with the energy (+16.8%) and industrial (+8.8%) sectors leading the way.
- What a way to end a decade!
The first 10 years of the new millennium are on the books, and while the decade was truly unspectacular for investors, we nonetheless finished on a very positive note. The 2010 annual return data for the major asset classes are as follows:
- A Real See-Saw Year
The end of the third quarter finished with a fantastic rally, bringing the majority of equity returns into positive territory for 2010. Without the strong September returns, equities 2010 would have been flat or slightly negative for 2010, emphasizing the up-and-down movements. The interesting anomaly was the unusual September strength. Statistically, September is historically the worst of the twelve calendar months, yet this was the best September stock performance since 1954!
- Roller Coaster Summer
Summer is here, and we all know the fun and excitement of visiting a theme park and riding the thrill packed rides — and oh, those roller coasters! This summer, it isn’t just the theme parks; investors are in for a roller coaster summer too, as equity markets look to offer an up-and-down pattern through summer and into fall, following the year-to-date pattern very closely.
- 2009 Wrap-Up / 2010 Outlook
The 2009 investment year is in the books and we are well on our way in 2010. With this edition, we would like to review 2009 and give our thoughts on what 2010 might look like.
- What a Quarter! What a Comeback!
We just finished one of the best third quarters on record across a broad spectrum of indices. Not only did the market have a good quarter, but the monster rally from the March 9, 2009 lows has been quite significant.
- This edition of “The Advisor” is later than usual. We have delayed as long as practical because we, like you, have a great number of questions we were hoping to have answered or at least better illuminated. From the economy to the investment markets, stimulus effectiveness and many more issues, we are hoping to provide insight where possible. But first, let us recap the markets year-to-date.
- Whenever a boat leaves harbor, it usually does so in calm seas and with a prognosis for good weather. Today’s investors set sail as far back as 1982, the start of the greatest bull market in U.S. history. For 25 years, they were lulled into thinking that that type of good weather was what boating was all about. Yes, there were storms during that voyage, but nothing too tough for most of us to handle.
- Thank goodness 2008 is finally over! Without question, this was one of the most dismal years in so many respects — from investment markets to corporate collapse and fraud to major layoffs and unemployment. If ever there was hope for a fresh start and a new year, that time is now!