While I remain confident that the U.S. equity market will eventually outperform in 2021 there will almost certainly be a greater degree of volatility in the second half of the year. With the double-edge sword that is vaccinations and the Delta Covid variant, economic restrictions are likely to lead to a slowdown in global growth.
The performance and enthusiasm of November will be hard to top. In the month of November, the Dow gained 11.8% - this is the best November since 1928. The S&P 500 rose 10% and Nasdaq 11%. Transports, Industrials, Financials all enjoyed their best month since April of 2009. Also, the Dow hit the coveted all time high of 30,000. Some believe that November may have taken some of the steam from December’s momentum however, both the consensus and Fed both agree that growth should be about 4% next year. As we wrap up the year, there are obviously a few reasons for pessimism over the next two months but there are more reasons for optimism over the next 12 to 18 months.
Making trade and investment decisions based solely on big events is hardly ever an effective strategy. Having said that, there were obvious concerns about how this year’s election would affect markets and planning strategies. The best thing to do would have been to pick an allocation which you felt comfortable with and ride whatever wave came along with the election results. Some investors sat the sidelines, some bought what they thought might be winners in whatever their assumed outcome scenario was. All in all, what occurred is what I mentioned in our previous election commentary blog – the markets only care that there IS a President.
On the heels of the first Presidential debate of the 2020 Election, investors are increasingly turning their attention to the election and the impact that the result will have on the stock market. It is understood that elevated uncertainty usually affects markets in a negative way bringing lower stock prices. But as we have seen throughout our experiences with COVID this year; stocks move based on expectations of the future.
Recently, we have experienced a downturn in the markets and while that is frustrating and, at times, downright scary, there are ways that you can take advantage of these tough times. Tax-loss harvestingnot only can decrease your tax liability exposure by offsetting taxable income, it also allows you to indirectly increase your overall return or have the ability to reap the gains from some of your other investments.
The last few years of a bull market are always a bit of a mystery to professional investors; the market rises faster than it did in the early, cautious years when nobody believed there WAS a bull market, even though there appear to be fewer fundamental or economic reasons for it. The current bull market churns on, even if nobody can explain it, and people who bail out in anticipation of a downturn do so at the risk of missing out on an untold number of months or years of (still somewhat inexplicable) gains. As nice as the returns have been domestically, international stocks this year have been even kinder to investment portfolios.
The Federal Reserve has once again raised interest rates by 25 basis points, but is still maintaining their placid stance toward economic policy. This allowed equities last week to end a tumultuous week with a slight uptick. The expectation is that the Fed is going to continue to raise rates very slowly.