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April 2016 Commentary

As we entered 2016, the factors that led to the volatility throughout the 2nd half of 2015 persisted. After one of the worst ever starts to a year, a rally in March led to the S&P 500 ending positive for the quarter.

Uncertainty in the financial markets leads to volatility. There was uncertainty about the price of oil, US interest rates and the overall health of the global economy. Continue reading “April 2016 Commentary”

January 2016 Commentary


Investors and money managers alike were happy to say goodbye to 2015 as the S&P 500 closed the year on the downside for the first time since 2008. So far, 2016 has not fared better in its first week with global markets suffering.

There is much uncertainty and bad news out there to justify the negative sentiment:

  1. Oil continues its slide which many believe is a telling sign of a global slowdown
  2. There is fear of a slowdown in China and such has seen its stock market halt a few times due to mass selling
  3. The US Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time since June 2006 and has hinted at 3 or 4 more in 2016
  4. North Korea has an H bomb (ok, probably not)

Continue reading “January 2016 Commentary”

October 2015 Commentary

Quarter Review

Everywhere we looked last quarter flashed signs of a pullback:

  • The 3rd quarter is typically the worst quarter
  • A slowdown in China
  • The Fed may raise interest rates
  • A collapse in oil prices

It’s no wonder that at one point we saw the S&P 500 decline over 10% from its highs for the first time in 3 ½ years. The headlines left many investors jittery about living through another major market pullback like we’ve seen on 3 other occasions since 2000. What I routinely reminded our clients is that, historically, we get a 10% pullback annually. So waiting 3 ½ years, we were long overdue. Continue reading “October 2015 Commentary”

April 2015 Commentary

Quarter Review

The volatility we saw in the 4th quarter of 2014 continued throughout the first quarter of 2015. The primary driver of the volatility was an increased expectation amongst economists that the U.S. Federal Reserve would raise interest rates as early as June. A second factor was sub-par earnings reports that produced a perceived slowdown in US production.

For the quarter, the S&P 500 squeezed out a slight gain of less than one percent. Conversely, the international markets (EAFE Index) produced a gain of over 5%. The shift signaled a belief that the similar European and Japanese monetary policies, which helped US markets for the last few years, are beginning to have the same positive effects across seas. Continue reading “April 2015 Commentary”

May 18th Commentary

Markets Taking a Breather

May’s market so far has been much like the weather in the Philadelphia area — soggy. With high gas prices, a continued debt crisis in Europe and mixed corporate earnings reports, investors have reduced their appetite for risk in the most recent trading sessions. The result has been a sell-off in areas that have shown the greatest strength over the past few months. Continue reading “May 18th Commentary”