This is a tale of two market environments.
As clients can see in their quarterly reports, the one-year numbers show strongly positive returns with very few exceptions.
In contrast, the first quarter of 2018 was a different story. First quarter numbers were negative in a majority of investment asset classes.
It remains to be seen whether this represents the beginning cracks in the long growth run we’ve enjoyed since the end of the great recession in early 2009.
After experiencing relatively calm markets in 2017, volatility returned in the first quarter of 2018. Bond prices fell as interest rates rose, while US and international stocks declined. With tensions heating up between the US and leading communist countries (including potential trade wars with China, nuclear tension on the Korean Peninsula, and the expulsion of Russian diplomats), there is a great deal of uncertainty on the global stage, which all contributed to a weak first quarter.
The outcomes weren’t terrible, but all of this is a change from the positive growth trends we’ve enjoyed recently.
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More insights are inside the issue, including a breakdown of current economic factors influencing the markets.
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