Knowledge Center

Direct. Calculated. Personalized

April 3 2017

Toward the end of the first quarter, the bull market celebrated its eighth birthday. David Kelly, Chief Global Strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management wrote:

“Eight years ago, on March 9, 2009, the S&P 500 closed at 677, down 57 percent from where it had been just 18 months earlier. 10-year Treasury yields had fallen from 3.6 percent to 2.9 percent over the previous year…Investors were depressed and scared. However, good long-term returns from stocks were almost inevitable at that point since economic and market fundamentals were at unsustainably low levels…Eight years later, the financial landscape has changed completely…it still makes sense to be in long-term investments including both domestic stocks and bonds. However, it is time to adopt a more diversified and thoughtful approach that recognizes the importance of valuations…”

Valuations were heady during first quarter
Stock valuations reflect how much a share of a company’s stock, or shares of companies in an index, may be worth. Valuations can help investors understand whether shares are expensive, reasonable, or inexpensive. One way to measure valuation is to look at trailing 12-month price-to-earnings (P/E). This gauge reflects how much an investor must pay to receive one dollar of the company’s earnings.

For instance, on March 31, FactSet reported the trailing 12-month P/E of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was 21.8. That’s well above the 10-year average of 16.6 and the five-year average of 17.1. This suggests shares of the overall index are expensive. Keep in mind, even when the index appears to be expensive, the valuations of specific companies or sectors within the index may still be attractive.

Animal spirits abounded
The CEO of JPMorgan attributed investors’ enthusiasm for stocks during the first quarter to ‘animal spirits,’ reported CNN Money. Animal spirits is a term coined by John Maynard Keynes. It describes “…a spontaneous urge to action rather than inaction, and not as the outcome of a weighted average of quantitative benefits multiplied by quantitative probabilities.” Investors were inspired by the new administration’s growth agenda, including promises of lower taxes and less regulation.

The U.S. economy grew (but we’re not sure how much)
People and businesses may have been more enthusiastic than data suggests they should be. Financial Times cited research from Morgan Stanley that shows a growing gap between ‘hard’ economic data (like slowing corporate spending and lower retail sales) and ‘soft’ economic data (like consumer and business optimism). The disparity has created uncertainty about the pace of economic growth during the first quarter of 2017. “The Atlanta Federal Reserve’s model, which…focuses on hard data, projects an annualized rate of just 1 percent. However, the New York Fed’s model, which ‘incorporates soft data into its tracking,’ forecasts 3 percent growth.”

The Federal Reserve acted
With employment and inflation data approaching Fed targets, the Federal Open Market Committee raised rates in March, pushing the Fed funds target rate into the 0.75 percent to 1 percent range, reported Financial Times. More rate hikes are expected during 2017.

Brexit was launched
The end of the first quarter of 2017 marked a new beginning for Britain. On March 29, Prime Minister Theresa May officially launched Britain’s exit from the European Union. The United Kingdom now has two years to negotiate terms with the European Union (unless all members of the EU unanimously approve an extension).

When you consider how long trade agreement negotiations normally take, it appears the task ahead for Britain and the EU is akin to running a marathon in 30 minutes. For example, Canada and the EU began discussing a trade agreement in 2007. It has yet to be finalized.

United States and European national stock market indices finished the quarter higher.

Sources:
https://am.jpmorgan.com/blob-gim/1383428725614/83456/MI-Monthly_March2017.pdf?segment=AMERICAS_US_ADV&locale=en_US
http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/price-earningsratio.asp
https://insight.factset.com/hubfs/Resources/Research%20Desk/Earnings%20Insight/EarningsInsight_033117.pdf
http://www.economicshelp.org/blog/glossary/animal-spirits/
http://money.cnn.com/2017/03/10/investing/trump-animal-spirits/
https://www.ft.com/content/24843018-c6fc-36cf-aa0c-87a1bf6a61f5
https://www.ft.com/content/6723f69c-09a4-11e7-ac5a-903b21361b43
http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21719758-it-leaves-britain-little-time-get-through-bulging-contentious-agenda-two-year-countdown

  • Data as of 3/31/20171-WeekY-T-D1-Year3-Year5-Year10-Year
  • Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks)0.0080.0550.1470.0780.1070.052
  • Dow Jones Global ex-U.S.-0.47.410.6-1.22.1-1
  • 10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)2.4NA1.82.72.24.6
  • Gold (per ounce)-0.27.40.6-1.2-5.86.6
  • Bloomberg Commodity Index1-2.58.3-14.1-9.9-6.7
  • DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index12.55.210.610.24.9

*S&P 500, Dow Jones Global ex-US, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend) and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; the DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index does include reinvested dividends and the three-, five-, and 10-year returns are annualized; and the 10-year Treasury Note is simply the yield at the close of the day on each of the historical time periods.

*Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.
*Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. N/A means not applicable.

Free Consultation

Enter your email address to receive an email from us to schedule your consultation.

*Don’t worry, you will not be spammed.

info logo

Bart A Zandbergen, CFP® is a Registered Investment Advisor with Optivest, Inc and a Registered Representative with Gramercy Securities, Inc. Investment advisory services are offered by Optivest, Inc. under SEC Registration and securities are offered through Gramercy Securities, Inc., member FINRA & SIPC, 3949 Old Post Road, Charlestown, RI, 02813, 800-333-7450.

BrokerCheck

Investment advisory services are offered by Optivest, Inc. and securities are offered through Gramercy Securities, Inc., member FINRA & SIPC. Securities are not FDIC-Insured, are not bank-guaranteed and may lose value. This website is provided solely for Optivest, Inc. clients and does not intend to provide investment, tax or legal advice. Be sure to consult with your own tax and legal advisors before taking any action that would have tax consequences. All references to Optivest on this website refer to Optivest, Inc. (a California Incorporated company) and all references to Optivest Properties refer to Optivest Properties, LLC. Optivest, Inc. does not represent that the securities, products, or services discussed in this website are suitable or appropriate for all investors. Information herein is taken from sources deemed reliable and neither Optivest, Inc. nor Gramercy Securities, Inc. is responsible for any errors that might occur. Optivest, Inc. may only transact business in those states and international jurisdictions where we are registered/filed notice or otherwise excluded or exempted from registration requirements. The information on this website is not intended for distribution to, or use by, any entity or person in any jurisdiction or country where such distribution or use would be contrary to law or regulation, or which would subject Optivest, Inc. or Gramercy Securities to any registration requirement within such jurisdiction or country. The opinions expressed by vendors or third parties are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Optivest, Gramercy or their affiliates. All links to other Internet websites (“hyperlinks”) are included as a convenience for our visitors and Optivest, Inc. assumes no liability for the content or the presentation of such linked sites. No part of this website may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other print or electronic publication without the express consent of Optivest, Inc. The material has been prepared and is distributed solely for information purposes and is not a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security or instrument or to participate in any trading strategy. No representation or warranty is provided for any software that may be downloaded from this website. Copyright © 2016 Optivest, Inc.

Securities offered through Gramercy Securities, Inc., 3949 Old Post Road, Charlestown, RI 02813, 1-800-333-7450

Market Watch - Last Closing Prices


Market Quotes are powered by Investing.com

Get a Free Second Opinion