2017

2017

 

Q-3

YTD

S&P 500 Large Company Index              

+4.49%

+14.19%

Dow Jones Industrial Average

+5.58%

+15.42%

Russell 2000 Small Company Index

+5.67%

+10.93%

MSCI Foreign Stock Index

+5.40%

+19.73%

Barclay’s Capital Aggregate Bond Index     

+0.85%

+3.14%

                                               

 As of September 11, 2017, the current bull market became the second-longest and second-best performing in history.  Stock prices, as measured by the S&P 500 Index, are up 270% from their March 2009 low, 340% if you include dividends. But there have been plenty of opportunities to go astray. 

  •  2010 - The “Flash Crash,” caused the worst single-day decline for stocks since April 2009. 
  • 2011 - When stocks declined 20% from May through October, the bears warned that another recession was imminent and stocks would fall further.
  • 2012 - There was a new reason to sell, the stock market had recovered bear market losses and hit new highs.  If you had decided to pocket your gains and get out of the market, you would have missed an additional 98% gain.
  • 2013 - The threat was rising interest rates, but the S&P 500 advanced 32%, recording its best year since 1997. 
  • 2014 - Markets anticipated the end of the Fed’s QE program - it looked like a good time to sell.  The S&P 500 ended with a 13% gain. 
  • 2015 - Falling crude oil prices indicated a weakening global economy. 
  • 2016 - Following the first Fed rate hike since 2006, many investors sold stocks - resulting in the worst sell-off to start a year in U.S. history.  The S&P 500 ended 2016 up 12%.
  • 2017 – Stay tuned.

 We realize this bull market is “long in the tooth,” and although we don’t know when, we do know a sell off is inevitable.  Tuning out the noise and holding tight through big market advances is not easy, but it has been profitable over the long run.

Today’s headlines report on failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, question the ability of Washington to agree on a new tax code, and point to the North Korean nuclear threat.  However, if you look past the headlines, the underlying fundamentals of our economy appear solid.  Corporations are reporting record profits while unemployment continues to trend downward and wages trend slowly upward.  The U.S. economy grew at a 3.1% annualized rate in the second quarter, the fastest quarterly growth in two years.  There are no economic indicators that signal a recession in the near future and the Fed has been cautious when considering raising interest rates.

 We are in our ninth consecutive year of stock market gains.  In the 70 + years since the end of WWII the stock market has experienced 14 bear markets, an average of once every 5 years. These bear markets have seen stocks decline an average of 30%.  Each of these bear markets have been followed by new stock market highs.  We believe no action is required if you have a financial plan that includes a diversified portfolio based on your tolerance and capacity for risk.