Our most recent quarterly comments
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to the "Brexit" vote - U.K. citizens voting to leave the European Union - and U.S. political elections) have seemingly been replaced by optimism.
Third Quarter 2016
"But quarter to quarter, it is not always easy to find new things to say." This statement was made earlier in the year by the CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. We currently identify with this thought because the third quarter was in many respects a repeat of what has transpired over the last several years.
Second Quarter 2016
The second quarter was a continuation of things we have seen in the recent past (e.g., slow global economic growth, accommodative central banks) until the United Kingdom surprised the world by voting to leave the European Union, also known as "Brexit". Afterward, many markets initially sold off ...but recovered a substantial portion of their losses by quarter-end. We will discuss additional aspects of Brexit, as well as results of the annual bank stress tests.