Glass Half Empty

Choppy markets continued in April. After all the large swings, the S&P 500 ended with a modest gain of 0.4% for the month, leaving the index down 0.4% for the year. Developed international markets beat domestic stocks with the MSCI EAFE index gaining 2.4% in April. Emerging market equities, feeling currency pressure and geopolitical tensions, pulled back in April but show small gains for the year.

Double Whammy

Stocks gave back a large part of their gains from January. The S&P 500 ended February down 3.7% after briefly pulling back 10% from the highs reached in January. Interest rates increased for the sixth straight month, with the yield on the 10-year Treasury finishing at 2.87%, the highest since 2013.

Jubilant Start, Shaky Finish

After an enthusiastic start to the year driven by an accelerating global economy and optimism about a large corporate tax cut, the stock market gave back some of its gains last week. The S&P 500 finished January with a 5.7% advance, including dividends. After a shaky finish, January’s returns were still one of the best starts for stocks since our firm’s founding in 1987.

Bountiful Year

2017 was filled with worries about an impending nuclear showdown, the fragility of the Chinese economy, and the next tweet from President Trump. As it turned out, all that was beside the point. What really mattered in 2017 was a strong and increasingly synchronized global economy. Companies posted record profits and created jobs faster than they could find willing and able workers while the stock market set new records almost daily.

Animal Spirits

Global economic data continues to exceed expectations, throwing more fuel on this year’s stock market rally. Domestic stocks touched new highs again in November on tax reform optimism, driving the S&P 500 index to a record 13th straight month of gains. For the year, the S&P 500 shows a 20.5% return, including dividends.

And On It Goes

For weeks now, devastation and risk have surrounded us. Missiles fly over Japan and hostile rhetoric continues, while Texas faces a tragedy of biblical proportions. Yet the financial markets appear unfazed by recent events, with stocks continuing to post new highs. Investors question if the market will continue to be immune to these and other risks.

The Daily Grind

September ended with the S&P 500 index increasing 2.1%, continuing a pattern like the previous eight months of 2017 by calmly grinding higher. Despite a weather-ridden jobs report today, solid economic numbers and consistent U.S. corporate earnings supported the market in the face of ongoing tensions over North Korea.

Immune to Risk?

For weeks now, devastation and risk have surrounded us. Missiles fly over Japan and hostile rhetoric continues, while Texas faces a tragedy of biblical proportions. Yet the financial markets appear unfazed by recent events, with stocks continuing to post new highs. Investors question if the market will continue to be immune to these and other risks.