Market Commentaries

  • Global Tensions Ease, Markets Move Higher


    Market Overview


    Sources: Sources for data in tables: Equity Market and Fixed Income returns are from JP Morgan as of 1/10/2020. Rates and Economic Calendar Data from Bloomberg as of 1/10/2020. International developed markets measured by the MSCI EAFE Index, emerging markets measured by the MSCI EM Index. Sector performance is measured using GICS methodology.

    Happening Now                   

    Global equity markets finished higher last week, with only a few exceptions. In the U.S., the S&P 500 Index rose to a level of 3,265, representing a gain of 0.98%, while the Russell Midcap Index gained 0.51%. The Russell 2000 Index, a measure of the Nation’s smallest publicly traded firms, returned -0.18% over the week. On the international equities front, developed markets finished slightly in the red returning -0.08%, while emerging markets finished up 0.88%. Finally, the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield was up slightly to 1.83%.

    Early in the week, news outlets were focused on the escalating situation between the U.S. and Iran. As a result, investors moved into perceived “safe haven” assets while settling into a wait-and-see mindset. Fortunately, tensions de-escalated mid-week and markets moved higher. Oil prices also moved to lower levels following the initial, potentially excessive, increases that we previously discussed in last week’s update. Positive trade headlines once again helped the rally in stocks as it’s expected that a Chinese trade delegation will sign the “phase one” agreement in Washington this week. In addition, job numbers came in relatively strong, albeit below expectations, unemployment remained steady, and U.S. service sector activity expanded at a faster than expected pace.

    Stylistic gains for the week are inline with what we experienced in 2019 and thus far in 2020. Growth continues to outperform Value, however, we believe a rotation is likely to take place over the course of 2020 and would encourage investors to be mindful of the potential move. We believe that a dovish Federal Reserve, along with the continued strength of the U.S. consumer and underlying U.S. economy, will allow for additional upside potential for U.S. stocks during the first half of 2020. However, the second half of the year may bring on a shift. In particular, as we enter the thick of the election cycle, periods of intermittent volatility will likely be based on changing predictions of who may be in the Oval Office and which political party may be in control of Congress after November 15. At that point, Value-oriented investment strategies, which have taken a back seat to Growth-oriented investment strategies over the last decade, should start to outperform.

    In the week ahead, Financials kick-off earnings season, and a slate of geopolitical events and economic data releases will surely attract plenty of attention. As always, we encourage investors to stay disciplined and work with experienced financial professionals to help manage their portfolios through various market cycles within a well-diversified framework that is consistent with their objectives, time-frame and tolerance for risk.

    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 REITs that primarily own and operate income-producing real estate.

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