Market Commentary & Analysis

Market Flash Report

Investors continue to favor equities as stock markets produced positive performance across the globe. Leading the advance was emerging markets, most notably Russia and China, and developed non-US markets. April witnessed a strong reversal in two major macro-economic factors. The US dollar fell sharply due to a string of weak US economic data, and oil prices surged due to the forecast for higher demand. These recent oil spikes may be short-lived since the expectation for these trends to continue is low.

Quarterly Market Overview

Weakening earnings helped keep U.S. large cap stocks in check during the first quarter. U.S. manufacturing activity, as well as corporate profits, have stalled thanks to the disruptive West coast port strike, harsh winter weather, difficulties within the energy segment, and the competitive pricing disadvantages of a stronger dollar. Relatively expensive domestic stock valuations have not helped either. U.S. equities are generally more richly priced than overseas markets, reflecting in part the large return disparity of the past few years.

Market Pulse Report

A few major themes have been driving equity markets as of late—energy prices, currencies, and monetary policy. It should come as little surprise that these themes are intertwined, perhaps more closely than many realize.

Market Flash Report

It was not a great month, or first quarter for that matter, for U.S. large cap stocks. Market action has been choppy and mostly trendless, with investors contemplating reduced earnings expectations, a soon-to-be tightening Federal Reserve, a strengthening dollar, and oil price declines. On the other hand, European equities have gained momentum following the start of the ECB's bond purchase program. Investors are taking notice, with funds flowing into international segments at the expense of domestic exposures.

Monetary Policy Flash Report

 

The U.S. Federal Reserve has set the stage for a much anticipated rate hike later this year, the first such shift in monetary policy since 2004. While many investors have been preoccupied by the removal of the word "patience" from the Fed's language (which clears the way for tightening to begin as soon as June), we believe the precise timing of a shift in policy is largely a non-event.

 

Market Pulse Report

The equity bull market is celebrating its sixth birthday since the S&P 500's March 9th, 2009 closing low of 676 (the intraday bottom was a more inexplicable level of 666). Since that credit-crisis trough, the index has more than tripled in price. The tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite has also entered the act, breaking back through the 5000 milestone for the first time in nearly 15 years. All this hoopla may lead many investors to wonder—is there much gas left in the tank for this aging bull market? We believe there is.

Market Flash Report

U.S. stocks broke a two-month losing streak in grand fashion amid firming oil prices and stabilization in Europe. The S&P 500 registered its best month in over three years to close out February just off record highs. 

Market Pulse Report

Markets have gotten a bit choppy as of late, with big swings in oil prices and interest rates causing investor angst. Worries about European deflation, Greek disruptions, the Federal Reserve's shifting stance, and the potentially negative impact of a strong U.S. dollar on multinational company earnings have not helped. But we do not think too much should be read into the poor start to the year for U.S. stocks. The backdrop for higher equity markets remains in place, supported by a strengthening U.S.

Market Flash Report

January's disappointing stock market performance, driven by an uneven start to the fourth-quarter earnings season and nervousness about the plunge in commodities, was not good news for those that subscribe to the theory of the January Barometer.

Global Currency Flash Report

Due to global uncertainties, we expect increased volatility across markets this year. In the face of slowing global growth and the resulting divergent central bank policies, currency moves may be more pronounced than they have been in the past.

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