2014 1st Quarter Commentary

Overview With the first quarter of 2014 in the books, we were pleased with the outcome of both the stock and bond markets.  After a fantastic 2013 and a rocky start to 2014, the quarter closed out on a largely positive note.  Below are our thoughts on the events of the past three months as well as where we believe we are heading. Economy While much of the recent data has been weak, we are optimistic that the economy will accelerate into the middle of the year and raise [...]

2013 4th Quarter Commentary

Overview This year was characterized by political unknowns, but few economic surprises. We began the year concerned about negative outcomes from budget fights and the impact of the sequester that went into effect during the first quarter. We then moved our attention to the comments from the Federal Reserve in regards to whether it would continue its bond buying program known as “Quantitative Easing.” We ended the year with a government shutdown and the implementation difficulties of the Affordable Care Act. Despite all of these issues, markets traded higher. [...]

2013 3rd Quarter Commentary

Overview Over the last three months we have transitioned through concerns of when the Federal Reserve would begin tapering its monthly bond purchases to dealing with political battles on Capitol Hill about spending, the debt ceiling, and The Affordable Care Act. We have seen this movie before but each time it seems to have a new twist. As we write this letter, the government has “shut down” because the House and Senate will not agree on a spending bill. Today's government shutdown is the 17th in the last 100 [...]

2013 2nd Quarter Commentary

Overview The optimism from the first quarter was sustained into the second but interestingly, volatility has also increased on the back of a rising market and stronger economic data. What would cause this volatility? The financial media is hyper-focused on the next move of the Federal Reserve.  Measuring the pulse of Ben Bernanke and making short term market calls has become a full time occupation for many. These days we hear a lot of chatter about “Fed tightening” and a new word has even entered our lexicon, “tapering.” It [...]

2013 1st Quarter Commentary

Overview The first quarter of 2013 witnessed the best equity returns over a three month period for quite some time with both the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 reaching all-time highs.  The strong performance overshadowed the discussions in December of budget impasses, sequestration and overreaching tax plans.  The market was driven by relatively strong 4Q earnings reports, stronger than expected economic readings and less noise from Washington that had elicited fear from investors.  It is almost comical how quickly sentiment can change.  Below is our review of what [...]

2012 4th Quarter Commentary

Overview We have remarked to many of our clients recently that this has been a year of conflicting realities. While politically and internationally “turbulent” seems to be an appropriate adjective, the capital markets have painted a different scene. Despite a close Presidential election, a “Fiscal Cliff,” countless European Summits and Sovereign Debt debates, both the stock and bond markets posted respectable returns. The economy continues its slow march towards recovery and on a variety of fronts we have increased clarity on what the future holds. Below are the highlights [...]

2012 3rd Quarter Commentary

Overview We are surprised the markets were so strong last quarter given the negative headlines that typically cause market volatility. Our year-end expectations have been exceeded. Year to date we have double digit gains in the S&P and the Nasdaq and high single digit gains in the Dow Industrials. Even our friends across the pond have seen high single digit gains in their major indices. This quarter only added to the strength we have seen in the market all year. Economy This economy reacts to changes in consumer and [...]

2012 2nd Quarter Commentary

Overview In the first half of the year we have seen some of the best and the worst that the markets have to offer. The dichotomy is noteworthy: the first quarter was the best in 14 years while during the second quarter the Dow posted the worst May performance since 1940! With the same surprising speed that confidence was restored in the first quarter, fear and uncertainty returned in the second. The last 90 days have seen a weakening in many economic and sentiment based indicators. Additionally, Europe’s footings [...]

2012 1st Quarter Commentary

Overview The following are some significant events that occurred in the 1st quarter: The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed above 13,000 for the first time since May 2008. The S&P 500 also had its highest close since 2008; in fact, it had its best first quarter since 1998. Parliaments in Germany and Finland approved the second bailout package for Greece. The ECB's (European Central Bank) 3 year Long-Term Refinancing Operation (LTRO) was initiated and served its intended purpose of stabilizing the Eurozone. The third estimate for 4Q GDP was [...]

2011 4th Quarter Commentary

Overview 2011 was a wildly volatile and emotionally taxing year for investors worldwide. After an attractive first quarter, the Japanese tsunami devastated a portion of our manufacturing supply chain which damaged production, sales and ultimately, GDP. Following that natural disaster, we experienced a man-made one when politicians seemed intent on creating a financial crisis over America’s very large debt. Their indecisiveness contributed to a decision by the ratings agencies to lower our nation’s pristine triple-A credit rating. Then, as we began to overcome the effects of the tsunami and [...]