Commentary

Light at the End of a Long Tunnel

We have all endured the Covid-19 pandemic for over a year now.

Commentary

The Heavy Lifting

Wall Street and Main Street are two different zip codes. In 2020, one neighborhood struggled with rising economic uncertainty, while the other posted strong gains underscored by a loose fiscal and monetary environment. In 2021, we expect the neighborhood's economic fortunes to converge.

Commentary

The Calm After the Storms

We have stated many times over the past decade how well the stock market does overlooking the prominent headlines of the day and remaining focused on the underlying economy and its outlook. The third quarter of 2017 was no exception.

Commentary

What Keeps Us Awake at Night

The US stock market, as seen by the S&P 500, rose an impressive 3.8% during the third quarter of 2016.

Commentary

Submerging Markets

It has been a dreadful start to the year for stocks, with the S&P 500 Index down more than 10% as we write this. As is usually the case, this correction is being driven by concerns about a slowing economy. The emerging markets and the commodity sectors are the primary culprits this time, and the fear is that the weakness in those areas will spill over into the broader US economy.
Commentary

Dot-Communism

In this commentary, Portfolio Manager Robert Stimpson discusses the effect the sharp correction in Chinese equities, the unwinding of the commodity supercycle, and the Federal Reserve’s decision to delay interest rate increases have had on US markets. Whether China’s own equity market China Syndrome will cause lasting damage to global markets - or simply a short-term spike in volatility and poor investor sentiment - is difficult to assess. Underlying fundamentals continue to suggest that corporate earnings are strong.
Commentary

ETFs: “Like Handing an Arsonist a Match”

The popularity of ETFs has grown among market participants who, in the aftermath of the financial crisis, want to be able to reduce market exposure or shift between sectors when they sense danger/opportunity. The recent correction has brought to light the role of ETFs in the market, and the volume statistics are mind-boggling. Innovation is generally good, but like many things in life, there is a downside, and we would argue the downside to using ETFs to engage in frequent portfolio repositioning is particularly steep.
Commentary

Sharp Selloff

In a matter of a week the stock market has gone from historically low volatility to historically high volatility. The good news is that, in our estimation, the current events are not enough to throw the US economy into recession. The nature of a selloff can be quite informative as to its meaning or duration, and there are many signs that this correction may be ephemeral and that stocks may bounce back.
Commentary

Policy Paranoia

The present version of policy paranoia encompasses concerns over impending interest rate hikes, the rapid appreciation of the US dollar, a bloated US government balance sheet, weak international economies and increased probability of a crisis in certain Latin American countries. While legitimate, we do not believe the current ghosts are any more imminently destructive today than over the past six years.
Commentary

Volatility Takes a Sabbatical

The theme of the second quarter was low volatility, as stocks continued to grind higher. As June ended, the S&P 500 had gone 51 consecutive trading sessions without moving 1% or more in either direction. Not since April 16 has the index moved at least 1% in a given day. This is a remarkable streak and quite a contrast with the volatility of recent years. Naturally, when something like this happens, the inclination is to try to figure out what it means for the market going forward.
Commentary

Resisting the Sirens

There has been an interesting shift in the market over the past several weeks, as high-growth stocks (an area to which we have limited exposure, given our preference for more fairly-valued growth opportunities) have suffered a significant correction after being the darlings of the market since June of last year.
Commentary

Putin and the Naughty Chair

On the surface, the first quarter of 2014 appears to be decent. The S&P 500 eked out a gain of 1.8% in the first three months of the year, despite heightened geopolitical tensions, a changing of the guard at the Federal Reserve, and frigid weather hampering economic growth. Accounts managed by Oak Associates have topped the S&P 500 year-to-date. That being said, signs of internal weakness are present in US equities.
Commentary

Where are Margins Headed?

The fourth quarter was another good one for stocks, with the S&P 500 returning 10.5%, and 32.4% for the year. This was the best calendar-year performance by the index since 1997. All four quarters of 2013 produced positive returns, with the first and fourth quarters, typically the strongest seasonally, both hitting double-digits. For the year Consumer Discretionary and Healthcare were the standout sectors, while Utilities and Telecom lagged. The laggards are not surprising, as they are income-oriented - an area of the market that was hurt by the backup in bond yields.
Commentary

Third Quarter Market Commentary: Let's Reminisce

US stocks have risen each quarter of 2013, outperforming most other asset classes and emerging markets along the way. In the third quarter, the S&P 500 Index rose 5.24% and pushed the year-to-date gain to 19.79%. All sectors within the S&P 500 have produced positive returns this year, although the pro-cyclical groups have outperformed the defensive ones.
Commentary

Second Quarter Market Commentary

The market posted another positive quarter, with the S&P 500 returning almost 3%. In recent years, Q2 has witnessed a growth problem, in which softening economic data prompted investors to sell stocks. But this year that did not happen, as the data actually improved. While new job creation is less than some would like to see, there has been a clear acceleration over the past six months.