MARKET COMMENTARY | March 2017
Global stocks advanced amid signs of improving economic growth in the U.S., Europe and Japan. Strong corporate earnings in some sectors and mergers-and-acquisitions activity also helped to support stock prices. Investor sentiment remained optimistic despite rising political uncertainty as election season approaches in Europe.
Defensive stocks generally outpaced economically sensitive sectors. Health care stocks enjoyed particularly strong gains, rebounding from depressed levels as U.S. political leaders debated sweeping changes to the nation’s health care system. The consumer staples sector also moved higher, driven in part by M&A. Energy stocks declined on disappointing earnings, flat oil prices and oversupply concerns.
MARKET COMMENTARY | February 2017
Global stocks rose modestly, supported by strong corporate earnings and signs of improving economic growth in the U.S., Europe and Japan. Gains were tempered by political uncertainty around the world, including investor worries about upcoming elections in Germany and France. Emerging markets enjoyed the best returns, boosted in part by higher prices for raw materials.
Economically sensitive sectors generally outpaced defensive stocks, underscored by significant gains in the information technology and materials sectors. Consumer discretionary stocks also advanced amid healthy growth in inflation and consumer spending. Energy stocks declined as oil prices slipped on reports of a substantial rise in U.S. crude oil inventories.
MARKET COMMENTARY | January 2017
In a year marked by volatility and political upheaval, global stocks rallied on signs of improving U.S. economic growth and aggressive central bank stimulus measures around the world. U.S. stocks led developed markets higher, particularly late in the year as investors cheered Donald Trump’s unexpected victory over Hillary Clinton in the U.S. presidential election. Emerging markets also enjoyed strong returns, supported by rising commodity prices and political reform efforts.
MARKET COMMENTARY | January 2017
Global stocks ended the year on a high note, boosted by investor enthusiasm for U.S. political change and expectations for an improving world economy. U.S. stocks drove markets higher even as a strong dollar threatened to weigh on corporate earnings. Financial stocks soared as the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for just the second time in a decade. High-grade bonds declined and the dollar rallied against the euro, the yen and most other currencies.
MARKET COMMENTARY | December 2016
Global stocks rose amid market optimism for Donald Trump’s ascendancy to the U.S. presidency and signs of accelerating U.S. economic growth. Several key indexes hit record highs on expectations of market-friendly policies under the new administration. Financial stocks rallied as global interest rates moved higher. Bonds fell sharply and the dollar advanced against the euro, the yen and most other currencies.
MARKET COMMENTARY | October 2016
Global stocks declined modestly as signs of improvement in the U.S. economy raised investor concerns about higher interest rates. Health care stocks fell sharply amid ongoing drug pricing pressures and disappointing earnings reports, while the financial sector rallied on the outlook for rising rates. High-grade bonds lost ground and the U.S. dollar advanced against the euro, the yen and most other currencies.
MARKET COMMENTARY | September 2016
Stocks rebounded amid signs of stabilization in the global economy, strong earnings at bellwether companies and ongoing central bank stimulus measures. A “risk on” rally characterized the July-to-September period, following a highly volatile second quarter. Technology and materials stocks led markets higher, while the utilities and telecommunication services sectors declined. High-grade bonds advanced and the U.S. dollar fell against the euro and the yen.
MARKET COMMENTARY | August 2016
Stocks finished the month essentially flat as signs of an improving global economy were offset by investor concerns about higher U.S. interest rates. Information technology and financial stocks enjoyed the biggest gains while the utilities and health care sectors lost ground. High-quality bonds also declined as the Federal Reserve hinted at a rate hike this year. The dollar rose modestly against the euro, the yen and most other currencies.
MARKET COMMENTARY | August 2016
Global stocks rebounded from post-Brexit blues, regaining most of the losses suffered after British voters approved a referendum in June to leave the European Union. Central bank commitments to continue with easy monetary policy and economic stimulus measures helped to support stock prices. Emerging markets stocks rallied. Investment-grade bonds rose modestly. And the dollar was essentially flat against other major currencies.
MARKET COMMENTARY | July 2016
Global stocks rose modestly in a volatile quarter marked by heightened concerns about threats to worldwide economic growth. Stocks initially dropped sharply after British voters on June 23 approved a ballot measure to leave the European Union, but a strong bounce-back rally erased most of the losses. Rising oil prices fueled gains in the energy sector while consumer discretionary stocks declined. High-grade bonds, the U.S. dollar and gold rallied.
MARKET COMMENTARY | June 2016
Stocks rose modestly as signs of improving global economic growth were tempered by investor concerns about a potential increase in U.S. interest rates. Developed markets generally outpaced emerging markets amid encouraging economic data in the U.S., Europe and Japan. Technology stocks rallied, while the energy and materials sectors lost ground. Bonds were essentially flat and the U.S. dollar rose against the euro, the yen and most other currencies.
MARKET COMMENTARY | May 2016
Global stocks posted modest gains, supported by rising oil prices and aggressive monetary stimulus measures. Energy and materials stocks rallied as signs of improving demand from China sent commodity prices sharply higher. Information technology stocks declined on disappointing first-quarter earnings at some bellwether companies. Bonds advanced and the U.S. dollar declined against the euro, the yen and most other currencies.
MARKET COMMENTARY | April 2016
Global equity returns were essentially flat as worries about slowing economic growth and falling oil prices sent markets plummeting in January and early February. Losses were tempered by a mid-quarter rally driven by improving U.S. economic data and new stimulus measures in China. Emerging markets regained some ground amid rebounding commodity prices. Bonds rose and the U.S. dollar declined against the euro, the yen and most other currencies.
China affairs specialist Andrew Dougherty shares his growth outlook for China as it makes the transition from an investment-based economy to a service-based economy.
MARKET COMMENTARY | March 2016
Global stocks produced mixed returns amid investor concerns about a slowing global economy, low oil prices and ongoing turmoil in the banking sector. U.S. shares were flat, while European and Japanese markets lost ground. Emerging markets showed signs of stabilization as some commodity prices moved higher, boosting the materials sector. Investment-grade bonds advanced on safe-haven buying, and the U.S. dollar declined against the euro and the yen.
MARKET COMMENTARY | February 2016
Global stocks tumbled into the new year amid worries about China’s slowing economy, rapidly falling oil prices and disappointing U.S. corporate earnings growth. Financial stocks experienced the sharpest declines, weighed down by concerns about risky loans in the energy sector and persistently low interest rates. Defensive stocks generally held up better. High-grade bonds rallied on safe-haven buying. The U.S. dollar rose against the euro, the yen and most other currencies.
MARKET COMMENTARY | January 2016
Global stocks delivered essentially flat returns as investor enthusiasm for the U.S. economic recovery was offset by concerns over a sharp slowdown in China. Aggressive central bank stimulus measures continued to support markets in Europe and Japan, while the U.S. gradually stepped back from accommodative policies. Emerging markets stocks generally lagged their developed-market counterparts by a wide margin. Mergers-and-acquisitions activity reached a record high, fueled by cheap financing.
Defensive stocks outpaced economically sensitive sectors. Health care and consumer staples stocks rallied, while energy and materials stocks plummeted amid falling prices for oil and other commodities. At the end of the year, the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade, setting the stage for tighter monetary policy in the years ahead. The U.S. dollar rose against the euro and most other currencies.
MARKET COMMENTARY | January 2016
Global stocks advanced amid surging M&A activity and a strong year-end rally in the technology sector. The Fed raised interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade, but cautioned that future rate increases would depend on the pace of U.S. economic growth. Conversely, central banks in Europe and Japan ramped up stimulus measures in an attempt to jumpstart lackluster economies. U.S. bonds fell and the dollar rose against the euro and the yen.
MARKET COMMENTARY | December 2015
Global stocks produced mixed returns amid investor worries about sluggish economic growth and expectations for higher U.S. interest rates. European equities advanced on the promise of new monetary stimulus measures, however, U.S. stocks were flat and emerging markets retreated. Bonds also declined as Federal Reserve leaders indicated that a rate hike is likely in December. The dollar rose sharply against the euro and the yen.
MARKET COMMENTARY | November 2015
Global stocks rallied as central bank stimulus and rising M&A activity helped offset ongoing concerns about a slowing world economy. Energy and materials stocks led markets higher amid signs of stabilization in commodity markets. Information technology stocks also advanced on better-than-expected earnings from some bellwether companies. Bonds were generally flat, and the U.S. dollar rose against the euro and the yen.
MARKET COMMENTARY | October 2015
Global stocks tumbled amid increasingly alarming signs of an economic slowdown in China and uncertainty over U.S. monetary policy. Energy and materials stocks plummeted on worries about declining global demand for commodities. Defensive sectors, including consumer staples and utilities, generally held up better than cyclical stocks. Government bonds rallied and the U.S. dollar slipped against the euro and the yen.
MARKET COMMENTARY | September 2015
MARKET COMMENTARY | September 2015 | FEATURING Timothy D. Armour & Robert W. Lovelace
Global stocks have tumbled in recent days amid investor concerns about slowing economic growth in China. A sharp decline in Chinese stocks and a surprise currency devaluation have further stoked fears that the outlook for China is deteriorating, and events there could hurt its global trading partners, including Japan, Europe and ultimately the United States. China lowered interest rates and eased reserve requirements on banks in an attempt to calm investors and stimulate the economy. Against this backdrop, portfolio managers Tim Armour and Rob Lovelace share their thoughts on the unfolding events:
MARKET COMMENTARY | September 2015
Global stocks plummeted as fears that China’s economy may be weaker than previously expected hit every sector of the markets. Financial and consumer discretionary stocks fell the most, particularly those with high exposure to Asia. Defensive sectors, such as utilities and telecommunication services, fared somewhat better. High-grade bonds were essentially flat amid concerns about rising U.S. interest rates. The dollar lost ground against the euro and the yen.
MARKET COMMENTARY | August 2015
Global stocks advanced amid improving economic data in the United States and an easing of the Greek debt crisis. Defensive sectors led markets higher as consumer staples, health care and utilities stocks rallied. Emerging markets stocks declined, weighed down by a sharp drop in Chinese shares and falling commodities prices. High-grade bonds gained from a flight-to-safety trade. The U.S. dollar rose against the euro, the yen and most other currencies.
MARKET COMMENTARY | July 2015
Global stocks produced mixed returns as signs of improving economic growth were offset by fears of rising interest rates and a worsening debt crisis in Greece. Telecommunications stocks proved to be a bright spot, driven higher by M&A activity, while the rate-sensitive utilities sector fell the most. Emerging markets stocks advanced, supported by monetary easing in China. Bonds declined and the dollar slipped 4% against the euro.
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