Despite the Fed’s 25 basis point rate hike, intermediate term investment grade bonds (Corporates and Munis) still squeaked out positive returns in Q1. Commodities and Natural Resource Equities were some of the weaker performers in the first quarter as oil prices retreated by about 7.5%. High hopes that tax reform, reduced regulation and a more pro-business agenda would jumpstart the next round of growth in corporate earnings, have eased in face of failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The Fed has introduced a new wrinkle to the equation by suggesting that they may consider reducing their balance sheet later this year which raises the possibility that they may slow the pace of rate hikes. The weakened currency and rebounding global economy’s benefit on the European markets is reflected through the European Manufacturing Managers Index (PMI).
Market Flash Report – April 2017
Global Equity Markets enjoyed strong returns in Q1 led by the Emerging Markets. Growth stocks lead Value as Technology stocks were a significant driver of returns, accounting for more than 40% of the S&P 500 Index gains in Q1.