Global Markets: Good/Neutral
Developed markets are up 5.9% year to date. The big story has been the potential effect of Greece on the Eurozone, which adds some risk to the short term. The strong dollar continues, however, to create a counterbalance causing a trade surplus for Europe and beyond.
U.S. Economy: Good
U.S. Economic data continue to be strong. Job creation continues to grow, as well as housing starts. The U.S. consumer exercised spending above projected rates while still maintaining an above- average savings rate, and corporate earnings were solid. Forward- looking estimates indicate that this is a trend that will continue through 2016.
Inflation continues to be well below historical averages at 1.7%.
Interest Rates: Neutral
Although Yellen’s very cautious stance still seems to be in play, the timeline for future rate increases is shortening.
U.S. Stock Market: Good
Valuations based on projected earnings are presently slightly overdone vs. historical norms, but slightly undervalued if analyzed on a yield basis. In that light, combined with general economic strength, markets should continue to provide performance, especially in sectors such as financials, technology and healthcare.
U.S. Bonds: Cautious
Volatility continues, which favors short duration and high quality to protect portfolio value. The 10 year ended the quarter at 2.35%, with yields rising significantly across the fixed income spectrum. As the markets move closer and closer to interest rate increases, active management of duration, quality, security type and yield will help to temper the effects of rising rates.