Market Commentaries

  • Fluctuations Foreshadow a Likely Volatile Fourth Quarter


    Market Overview


    Sources: Equity Market and Fixed Income returns are from JP Morgan as of 10/14/16. REIT, Rates and Economic Calendar Data from Bloomberg as of 10/17/16.

    Happening Now                   

    Stocks and bonds moved in sync last week, falling in value nearly across the board with the exception of the Utility, Real Estate and Telecom sectors of the stock market and the High Yield sector of the U.S. bond market. The S&P 500 Index dropped 0.95%, international developed markets1 fell 1.39% and emerging markets2 slipped 1.93%. The slight sell-off last week was the result of back and forth trading that included alternating days of gains and losses with the steepest decline coming Tuesday when the S&P 500 Index fell 1.24%. The volatility witnessed last week was very much in line with our forecasts and will likely be the tone for much of the 4th quarter of 2016.

    The minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting in September were released last week, showing that several members believe it would be appropriate to hike interest rates “relatively soon” assuming the economy doesn’t weaken. While this really isn’t news, considering that these comments are consistent with the consensus view that a rate hike will occur before the end of the year, short of a shock to the economy, markets sank for the week while interest rates ticked up. In addition to the release of the minutes, Janet Yellen spoke on Friday but, despite lots of media attention, did not hint at the direction of future monetary policy, focusing instead on the transformative effects the recent financial crises could have on the economy as a whole.

    In addition to comments from the Federal Reserve, the start of earnings season, speculation over the price of Oil, and the upcoming U.S. election dominated headlines last week and likely will continue to for the next month. Each of these issues has the potential to amplify short term swings in the stock market. Investors should try to remain focused during this quarter and not allow day-to-day or week-to-week gains or selloffs lead them to make short term decisions that could impact their longer term financial objectives. With this said, it is important to recognize that the 14.5% annualized return the S&P 500 Index has posted over the past five years should not be expected to continue over the next five years. The very fact that U.S. stocks have experience such strong returns recently, is an argument for considering a globally diversified portfolio going forward. As a reminder, many international markets have lower valuations than U.S. stocks presently and could be in a position to outperform in the years to come, similar to how they did from 2001 – 2007. During this seven year stretch, the S&P 500 Index returned 3.3% per year versus the 8.8% annualized gain developed international markets1 achieved and the whopping 24% annualized gain in emerging market2 stocks over this time period. To learn more about how we at Hennion & Walsh are helping clients stay disciplined within a globally diversified portfolio or to have a complimentary portfolio review completed, please do not hesitate to speak with your Hennion & Walsh Financial Advisor or a member of the Hennion & Walsh Asset Management Team.

    1International developed markets are represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. 2Emerging markets represented by the MSCI EM Index.

    Important Information and Disclaimers

    Disclosures: Past performance does not guarantee future results. We have taken this information from sources that we believe to be reliable and accurate. Hennion & Walsh cannot guarantee the accuracy of said information and cannot be held liable. This information is provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any of the asset classes or sectors discussed.

    Investing in foreign securities presents certain risks not associated with domestic investments, such as currency fluctuation, political and economic instability, and different accounting standards. This may result in greater share price volatility. These risks are heightened in emerging markets.

    There are special risks associated with an investment in real estate, including credit risk, interest rate fluctuations and the impact of varied economic conditions. Distributions from REIT investments are taxed at the owner’s tax bracket.

    The prices of small company and mid cap stocks are generally more volatile than large company stocks. They often involve higher risks because smaller companies may lack the management expertise, financial resources, product diversification and competitive strengths to endure adverse economic conditions.

    Investing in commodities is not suitable for all investors. Exposure to the commodities markets may subject an investment to greater share price volatility than an investment in traditional equity or debt securities. Investments in commodities may be affected by changes in overall market movements, commodity index volatility, changes in interest rates or factors affecting a particular industry or commodity.

    Products that invest in commodities may employ more complex strategies which may expose investors to additional risks.

    Investing in fixed income securities involves certain risks such as market risk if sold prior to maturity and credit risk especially if investing in high yield bonds, which have lower ratings and are subject to greater volatility. All fixed income investments may be worth less than original cost upon redemption or maturity. Bond Prices fluctuate inversely to changes in interest rates. Therefore, a general rise in interest rates can result in the decline of the value of your investment.


    MSCI- EAFE: The Morgan Stanley Capital International Europe, Australasia and Far East Index, a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure developed-market equity performance, excluding the United States and Canada.

    MSCI-Emerging Markets: The Morgan Stanley Capital International Emerging Market Index, is a free float-adjusted market capitalization index that is designed to measure the performance of global emerging markets of about 25 emerging economies.

    Russell 3000: The Russell 3000 measures the performance of the 3000 largest US companies based on total market capitalization and represents about 98% of the investible US Equity market.

    ML BOFA US Corp Mstr [Merill Lynch US Corporate Master]: The Merrill Lynch Corporate Master Market Index is a statistical composite tracking the performance of the entire US corporate bond market over time.

    ML Muni Master [Merill Lynch US Corporate Master]: The Merrill Lynch Municipal Bond Master Index is a broad measure of the municipal fixed income market.

    Investors cannot directly purchase any index.

    LIBOR, London Interbank Offered Rate, is the rate of interest at which banks offer to lend money to one another in the wholesale money markets in London.

    The Dow Jones Industrial Average is an unweighted index of 30 “blue-chip” industrial U.S. stocks.

    The S&P Midcap 400 Index is a capitalization-weighted index measuring the performance of the mid-range sector of the U.S. stock market, and represents approximately 7% of the total market value of U.S. equities. Companies in the Index fall between S&P 500 Index and the S&P SmallCap 600 Index in size: between $1-4 billion.

    DJ Equity REIT Index represents all publicly traded real estate investment trusts in the Dow Jones U.S. stock universe classified as Equity REITs according to the S&P Dow Jones Indices REIT Industry Classification Hierarchy. These companies are REITSs that primarily own and operate income-producing real estate.

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