Three months into 2017 markets continued to build on the rally that began shortly after last November’s election. US large companies as measured by the S&P 500 gained 6%, developed foreign markets advanced nearly 7% and emerging markets led the way with over 11% for the quarter. US bonds were relatively flat despite the Fed following through on their promise to incrementally raise interest rates.
March 9th marked the 8-year anniversary of the current bull market. It’s not the longest on record (1987-2000), nor is it the shortest. From the 1990’s up until today the S&P 500 has gone from a long bull market to a momentary bear, back to a 5-year bull, leading up to the most recent bear market of ‘08 and finally arriving at today’s bull market. That’s five changes in total, spanning the course of over 26 years. The unpredictable nature of capital markets isn’t news to long term investors, making the significance of the 8-year anniversary essentially a moot point.
Although republicans hold majorities in the house and senate, healthcare reform came and went prior to having a vote. It is yet to be seen when the topic will be revisited as tax reform appears more likely to be the next priority. If anything is predictable in Washington, it’s party gridlock. Until further details unfold, maintaining the status quo is still the best option as opposed to speculating on what may or may not happen.
By Tim Baker, CFP®
Advice and investment design should rely on long term, proven evidence. This column is dedicated to helping investors across the country, from all walks of life to understand the benefits of disciplined investing and the importance of planning.