This past year was a successful one for the firm on multiple fronts. It was a tremendous year for investment results in both absolute and relative terms. While we believed our “slowing but growing” economic outlook could provide a decent backdrop for the stock market, the returns exceeded our expectations. Our equity income approach to stock investing provided exceptional results. 2019 was the fourth consecutive year of net-of-fee outperformance relative to the S&P 500 Index. In addition, our outstanding track record of bond investing continued. These results reflect the excellent work of our dedicated team of portfolio managers and analysts.
“Location, location, location” is a well-worn axiom keen-eyed investors employ when evaluating a potential real estate purchase. However, “location” can also be applied when thinking about the types of investment accounts that “house” stocks, bonds, and other investments. Some investors may reduce their tax liability and increase their after-tax returns by wisely allocating investments between taxable and non-taxable (retirement) accounts.
An up-and-down second quarter resulted in further stock-market gains, capping off the best first half for the S&P 500 Index since 1997. The market volatility that began last October continued in the first half of 2019. Stocks plunged nearly 20% in late 2018 on fears of rising interest rates, trade uncertainty, and Chinese economic worries. The S&P 500 bounced back in a big way in the first quarter, gaining 13% as the Fed tempered expectations for rate increases and trade tensions seemed to ease.
Now that tax season has come and gone, most taxpayers are aware (in some cases, painfully) of the impact of the changes brought about by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Each tax return has its own unique wrinkles, and few situations are the same. Still, one broad conclusion that has been made about the new law is the sharp reduction in the percentage of taxpayers who itemized deductions.
Nearly a decade into this historic bull market run, the S&P 500 Index posted its first calendar-year loss since 2008, finishing with a total return of -4.4%. This modest decline seems far worse after the fourth-quarter selloff.
As this historic bull market grinds ever-higher, some commonly-used axioms seem apropos to stock investors. “Patience is a virtue.” “Don't miss the forest for the trees.” “Good things come to those who wait.” But the phrase “hindsight is 20/20” also applies.
It's safe to say most people have seared into their memory a few important numbers: Social Security number, home address, phone number, kids' birthdays and wedding anniversaries (hopefully).
After nothing but smooth sailing in 2017, volatility returned with a vengeance in the first quarter of 2018. A very strong January rally was followed by two consecutive months of losses for the broader market.
2017 was a banner year for stock markets worldwide, and several other asset classes also finished with healthy gains. The S&P 500 Index has posted a positive return for 14 straight months, and 2017 was the first year ever in which the index's total return was positive every single month.
Stocks jumped in the third quarter, with only a brief pause in August. Stocks in the U.S. continue to reach new highs despite several headwinds.
The first half of 2017 turned out to be a good run for stock and bond markets. The rally in stocks sparked by the U.S. election last November carried over into the New Year and continued on steadily through June.
In the final days of the first quarter, Republicans in the House cancelled a vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Conservative and moderate factions within the party could not come to terms on what the bill should contain.