Special Edition Update
– July 3, 2012
While the first quarter of 2012 beat expectations, the second quarter poured cold water on investors’ hopes for a strong encore. Much like the last two years, the economy got off to a solid start only to falter in the spring. Despite a strong showing in the latter half of June, markets are down for the quarter,
erasing some of the gains we saw in Q1. However, the major indices are still up significantly for the year. Since January 1, 2012, the S&P has gained 8.31%, while the Dow is up 5.42%, and the Nasdaq grew by 12.66%.[i]
What are some of the factors that contributed to the Q2 doldrums? Most can be grouped into two major categories:
1. Global economic turmoil
Concerns about the European debt crisis continued to dominate headlines this quarter, as
lawmakers struggled to contain a rapidly growing crisis that threatens the integrity of the entire Eurozone. Greece skirted the edges of a disorderly default on its debt as popular opinion rose against punishing austerity measures. Although voters elected a pro-bailout coalition government, it is still unknown whether Greece will remain in the Eurozone. The Spanish were able to secure bailout funds to recapitalize their struggling banks from a centralized bailout fund as the Eurozone gambles on a more centralized union to save itself.[ii]
China, the world’s second-largest economy is decelerating; its central bank is desperately trying to cushion the landing as China’s manufacturing and export sectors – major drivers of the Chinese (and global) economy – slow.[iii]
2. Concerns about domestic growth
Investors and analysts are worried about troubling economic reports this quarter that suggest
the U.S. economy might be slowing. Stubborn unemployment, slow economic growth, and a stagnant job market continue to undermine confidence. One bright spot is that falling oil and gas prices offer consumer pocketbooks a break, and may encourage Americans to boost spending, the primary driver of economic expansion.
Taking into consideration the upcoming presidential election and expiration of the
so-called Bush Tax Cuts in January, it’s no wonder many analysts expect a period of sustained volatility in the months ahead.[iv] With this in mind, we encourage you to stick to an investment strategy that is
suitable for your own risk tolerance and personal investment objectives. Every individual has unique needs, and we always strive to match our clients to appropriate solutions to fill those needs. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us.