Volatility was back in full force last week. The three major domestic indexes posted several days of losses before experiencing wide swings on Friday. By week's end, the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), which investors use to help measure fear in the markets, had increased by approximately 70%. The VIX also reached its highest point since February.
Despite a number of equities posting last-minute gains on Friday, all three domestic indexes had sizable losses for the week. In fact, they posted their worst weekly performance since March. The S&P 500 dropped 4.10%, the Dow declined 4.19%, and the NASDAQ gave back 3.74%. International stocks in the MSCI EAFE also lost ground, decreasing 3.96%.
What drove market performance last week?
As is typically the case, a number of details affected investor sentiment and behavior. The following topics were among the perspectives impacting performance:
- Rising interest rates:In addition to the Fed's interest rate increases, 10-year Treasury yields are on many investors' minds. At one point last week, the 10-year reached its highest yields since 2011. As interest from banks and bonds rise, some investors exit the markets in search of more predictable returns. These moves can cause stock prices to drop. However, we want to remind you of what we wrote about last week: Rising rates may bring their own risks, but they are a sign that the economy is growing.
- Falling tech prices: Technology companies have been the best market performers in 2018. However, the sector just experienced its worst weekly results since this spring. With this shift in industry performance, some market participants have begun searching for different ways to invest their money.
- Ongoing trade tension: While many analysts believe interest rates and tech prices drove last week's losses, some feel that our trade renegotiation with China is to blame. We do not yet know how this skirmish will resolve, but tariffs do have the possibility to slow economic growth and increase prices for consumers.
These concerns and perspectives are important, but they do not give a complete understanding of our current economic conditions. Consumer sentiment remains high, and the latest corporate earnings season is likely to show strong, double-digit earnings growth for companies.
We know that volatility can feel uncomfortable, but it is normal. In the past 38 years, the markets have averaged a 13.8% intra-year decline - yet 29 of those years had positive returns.
If you have any questions, we are here for you.
Monday: Retail Sales
Tuesday: Industrial Production, Housing Market Index
Wednesday: Housing Starts
Thursday: Jobless Claims
Friday: Existing Home Sales
Notes: All index returns (except S&P 500) exclude reinvested dividends, and the 5-year and 10-year returns are annualized. The total returns for the S&P 500 assume reinvestment of dividends on the last day of the month. This may account for differences between the index returns published on Morningstar.com and the index returns published elsewhere. International performance is represented by the MSCI EAFE Index. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly.
These are the views of 4th River Financial Group, and not necessarily those of the named representative, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.
Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.
Diversification does not guarantee profit nor is it guaranteed to protect assets.
International investing involves special risks such as currency fluctuation and political instability and may not be suitable for all investors.
The Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 significant stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ. The DJIA was invented by Charles Dow back in 1896.
The Nasdaq Composite is an index of the common stocks and similar securities listed on the NASDAQ stock market and is considered a broad indicator of the performance of stocks of technology companies and growth companies.
The MSCI EAFE Index was created by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) that serves as a benchmark of the performance in major international equity markets as represented by 21 major MSCI indexes from Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.
The Dow Jones Corporate Bond Index is a 96-bond index designed to represent the market performance, on a total-return basis, of investment-grade bonds issued by leading U.S. companies. Bonds are equally weighted by maturity cell, industry sector, and the overall index.
The S&P US Investment Grade Corporate Bond Index contains US- and foreign issued investment grade corporate bonds denominated in US dollars. The SPUSCIG launched on April 9, 2013. All information for an index prior to its launch date is back teased, based on the methodology that was in effect on the launch date. Back-tested performance, which is hypothetical and not actual performance, is subject to inherent limitations because it reflects application of an Index methodology and selection of index constituents in hindsight. No theoretical approach can take into account all of the factors in the markets in general and the impact of decisions that might have been made during the actual operation of an index. Actual returns may differ from, and be lower than, back tested returns.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices are the leading measures of U.S. residential real estate prices, tracking changes in the value of residential real estate. The index is made up of measures of real estate prices in 20 cities and weighted to produce the index.
The 10-year Treasury Note represents debt owed by the United States Treasury to the public. Since the U.S. Government is seen as a risk-free borrower, investors use the 10-year Treasury Note as a benchmark for the long-term bond market.
Google Finance is the source for any reference to the performance of an index between two specific periods.
Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.
Past performance does not guarantee future results.
You cannot invest directly in an index.
Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision.
Fixed income investments are subject to various risks including changes in interest rates, credit quality, inflation risk, market valuations, prepayments, corporate events, tax ramifications and other factors.
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