It had been about 4 years since the S&P 500 dropped more than 10% from a peak and that’s more than twice the average duration. We reached that decline on Monday, August 24th. It could just be that we were due, nervousness of Wall Street, or it could be that the markets are bracing for an economic slowdown.
The Markets’ Wild Ride: 2015 edition
This year has been another roller coaster year for the stock markets, but it’s the first year to test the stomachs of investors since 2011. As I’ve written in the past, the stock markets do not like uncertainty; and we have quite a bit of that going around. Policy and economic changes in China, oil and gas prices, the possibility of the Fed raising interest rates, and the state of economies around the globe are making the markets queasy.
Another bit of uncertainty comes from the 2016 elections. We’ve seen several very close Presidential races of late and this time around might be close as well. While Wall Street might not like who wins, knowing what to expect may help to calm the markets’ jitters just in time for next year’s holidays.
I think that two-term presidential cycles of the past will continue with Obama. If you look at the economies during the terms of the past four presidents (I’m grouping President George H. W. Bush in with President Reagan), you’ll notice that they all started weak, improved near the end of their first term, and began to decline during their second term.
I believe that we’re currently near the peak of this economic cycle. This is supported by the U.S stopping the stimulus and why the U.S. appears poised to raise interest rates. Because our recovery has been slow, I’m expecting any potential pullback in the economy to be slight.
History has shown us that the stock markets tend to be a leading indicator moving up (or down) about six months prior to the economy expanding (or contracting). It could be that we’re in that six month window before we start to see the economy contract.
While my prognostication may seem gloomy, it’s not necessary doom and gloom. Again, I don’t see us falling into hard economic times; I think that we might just hit a soft patch. We could see this year in the red with 2016 being choppy until we have clearer election picture, but I don’t see the next twelve months as another 2008.
I think that international developed countries are poised to outpace the U.S. for the next few years as they’re further behind in their recovery, they haven’t had the same run up in their markets, they started a stimulus program earlier this year, and they are enjoying the low cost of oil/gas and a high U.S dollar.
Reviewing Your Risk and Expectations
Whether things are going well in the markets or if you’re feeling a bit nervous from the ups and downs, you should review your portfolio to make sure that you’re targeting a long-term return that helps you achieve your goals at a risk tolerance that helps you to sleep at night. We have a free, no obligation risk analysis that you can take on our website. Go to www.partnershipwm.com and click the Free Portfolio Risk Analysis button near the bottom of the home page on the right side of the screen. You’ll be able to answer questions that will help you better understand your tolerance for discomfort when markets decline while seeing what the potential maximum upside might be for that mix. We also offer appointments to review those results and compare them versus your current portfolio. Contact us to schedule a meeting via our website.
LPL Financial’s Thoughts
Burt White, Chief Investment Office and Managing Director, Research, presented “Cracking the Market Code” at our annual conference this past July. He believes that what drives the end of bull markets is not age, but excesses, and LPL Research’s Over Index helps measure the likelihood that the economy is showing signs of these excesses in the form of overconfidence, over borrowing, and overspending. Also covered are the different types of market cracks and analysis of the role of diversification and active management in portfolios. View slides from his presentation by clicking here.
The opinions voiced in this material are for informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice to any individual. Consult your legal, tax, and/or financial advisor to determine what is appropriate for your situation.
September marks the 10th anniversary for Partnership Wealth Management! I had decided that I wanted independence from Wall Street firms for myself and my clients so that I can provide excellent, unbiased client service. I’m grateful to my clients, family, friends, and colleagues who have been so wonderful through the years. I’m looking forward to the next 10 years and beyond!
None of this could have happened without the support of my wife, Heidi. She has been there for me through the difficult decisions, listening to me vent, and with me to celebrate my accomplishments and milestones. Thank you, Heidi, for being there for me. I love you!Office Closings
There aren’t any scheduled closings for the office in September or October. Follow us on Facebook at ww.facebook.com/partnershipwm for updates. You can also follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/partnershipwm and Linked in at www.linkedin.com/in/woodyderricks.
Just a reminder …
We are always accepting donations for the local animal shelters – toys, tennis balls, collars, leashes, food, cat litter, cardboard trays, office supplies, cleaning supplies, towels, mats, washcloths, etc. We will accept donations Monday-Friday between 9AM & 5PM.
It’s hard to believe, but Fenway also turned 10 this month. It seems like yesterday that Heidi took me to Furry Friends Network to introduce me to a litter of pups. After years of intense lobbying, Heidi finally caved and let me adopt a dog. We went to see another dog and I wasn’t interested in a lab (or a mix that looked mostly lab) due to my allergies. I firmly believe that he picked us by walking up to Heidi and parking himself in her lap. A few weeks later we made the adoption official and drove him to his new home. On that ride, I rode in the back of the car with Fenway in my lap. He has changed us for the better. Heidi would never consider him to be just mine and must wonder why we spent so much of our lives together without a dog. He has made us happier (most of the time), filled our home with unconditional love (mostly of food), encouraged us to adopt another dog (mostly for him), and inspired us to start Paws for a Cause. Thank you, Fenners, for choosing us. Stay cool!