March 19 2015
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first inaugural address was delivered in 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression. He said, “This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
Last week, some were speculating fear and uncertainty were behind U.S. stock market performance. The root of the problem was the word ‘patient,’ which Barron’s reported is likely to be removed from the Federal Open Market Committee’s statement this week, paving the way for an increase in interest rates. The publication cautioned that investors may throw a tightening tantrum and:
“That could make 2015 look a lot like 2013, the year of the so-called taper tantrum. Remember when Ben Bernanke first mooted the possibility that the Fed would curtail its bond purchases in testimony to Congress on May 22, 2013? The markets reacted with, well, horror. The S&P 500 fell 5 percent in just over a month of trading. Tapering itself, however, went off without a hitch; the S&P gained 9.1 percent from December 2013 to October 2014 as the Fed slowly cut its bond purchases.”
Continued strengthening of the U.S. dollar also affected markets last week. Reuters reported stock prices fell, in part, because of concerns about corporate profitability in the face of a stronger dollar. Sources cited by Barron’s pointed out, in the long run, a strong dollar is better for American companies. After all, a strong dollar increases the buying power of consumers and companies. However, investors currently seem to be focused on short-term consequences rather than long-term results.
- Data as of 3/13/151- WeekY-T-D1-Year3-Year5-Year10-Year
- Standard & Poor’s 500 (Domestic Stocks)-0.009-0.0030.1120.1370.1230.055
- 10-year Treasury Note (Yield Only)2.1N/A184.108.40.206.5
- Gold (per ounce) -2-3.9-15.8-120.910.1
- Bloomberg Commodity Index-3.2-6.5-27.5-12.6-5.8-5
- DJ Equity All REIT TR Index21.320.813.615.38.9
*Indices are unmanaged and investors cannot invest directly in an index.
*Sources: Yahoo! Finance, Barron’s, djindexes.com, London Bullion Market Association.
*S&P 500, Gold, Bloomberg Commodity Index returns exclude reinvested dividends (gold does not pay a dividend).
*The DJ Equity All REIT Total Return Index does include reinvested dividends.
*All investments involve risk – coins and bullion are no exception. The value of bullion and coins is affected by many economic circumstances, including the current market price of bullion, the perceived scarcity of the coins and other factors. Therefore, because both bullion and coins can go down as well as up in value, investing in them may not be suitable for everyone. Since all investments, including bullion and coins, can decline in value, you should understand them well, and have adequate cash reserves and disposable income before considering a bullion or coin investment.