Markets continued their positive performance in the second quarter and the S&P 500 is now up 17% through the first half of the year. Many investors have been caught off guard as the outlook at the beginning of the year was doom and gloom. Cooling inflation, better than expected corporate earnings, and the new AI (Artificial Intelligence) craze have been the obvious drivers of the great start to the year, but as we get longer into this market run up, the question becomes “Is this sustainable”? In order for the answer to be yes, inflation must continue on its downward descent, the Fed has to start talking rate cuts and corporate earnings expectations need to continue to surprise to the upside. In our view, at present, there’s a low probability of all three happening in unison.
On November 25, 2019, Charles Schwab announced that it would be acquiring TD Ameritrade and the deal officially closed on October 6, 2020. After nearly 3 years of combining operations and best practices, we are excited to announce that your accounts will be moving to the Schwab platform over Labor Day weekend. Click HERE to learn more about what to expect over the next several weeks.
In the face of significant uncertainty, markets proved to be more resilient to start the year than many investors thought possible. The quarter started off largely upbeat as inflation seemed to be subsiding and many believed that would lead the Fed to stop raising rates or even contemplate cutting rates. In February, economic numbers came in hotter than expected and the Fed’s rhetoric quickly reinforced further rate increases. Many professionals have been predicting that the significant rise in rates would eventually cause something to break. In March, the cracks started to emerge as Silicon Valley Bank & Signature Bank quickly were shut down by regulators within a few days of each other. Please click here to continue reading our market update.
2022 will go down in history as a landmark year for economics and financial markets, just not the type of year we want to remember. The highest inflation in 40 years, the most aggressive interest rate increases in modern history, and the Russia/Ukraine war were each unique in their own respects and caused extreme volatility in all investment asset classes. This is only the 5th time since 1926 that stocks and bonds have been down in the same year and the first time that both have declined by 10% in a single year. Please click here to continue reading our market update.
After the worst first half since 1970, the third quarter started out with a bang as the S&P 500 increased over 17% from June lows. However, elevated inflation reports coupled with a Fed determined to squash it, led the market to give up all its gains and then some, ending the quarter at the lows for the year (-23.9%). This was the worst first three quarters to start a year since 2002, and the fourth worst since 1926. International markets performed even worse, and bonds continued their plunge with a 15% total decline year-to-date.
There is generally only one free lunch in the investment world and that is diversification. Unfortunately, plain vanilla diversification has not worked this year as both stocks and bonds have seen historic declines. The S&P 500 posted the worst first half since 1970 (down 20%), and the 4th worst start to the year (1932 & 1962) in history. Bonds, most investors safe investment, were down 10.4%, the largest decline to start a year since data began being tracked in 1981.