Our most recent quarterly comments
Third Quarter 2017
Economic growth and stock markets were positive for the quarter and market volatility remained low, even in the face of numerous risks including: Geopolitical risks such as nuclear threats from North Korea; the unknown effects of unwinding hugely accommodative and experimental monetary policy that arguably helped propel asset prices higher since the Great Recession; government difficulties passing potentially pro-growth legislation; cybersecurity issues; and a nation more divided politically and socially than at any time in recent memory.
Second Quarter 2017
During the quarter, U.S. equity markets shrugged off the impact of delayed pro-business legislation, as well as increased tension with North Korea and potential trade wars. At the same time, corporate earnings grew and equity market volatility remained quite low.
First Quarter 2017
During the first quarter, U.S. stock and bond markets rose. It appears economies and corporate profits moved in the right direction, and consumer, business and investor sentiment remained high. While the Federal Reserve increased interest rates and is expected to do so again later this year, much investor focus seems to be on whether the new administration can execute on its pro-business agenda. Regardless of what the new administration is or is not able to accomplish, we believe markets in general are not cheap.
Fourth Quarter 2016
In general, the fourth quarter was good for U.S. stocks and commodities but challenging for U.S. bonds. The many fears weighing on investor sentiment at the start of 2016 (e.g., China's slowing economy, potential recession) and later during the year (e.g., anxieties related to the "Brexit" vote - U.K. citizens voting to leave the European Union - and U.S. political elections) have seemingly been replaced by optimism.