Quarter One 2017 Commentary

Unlike the last quarter of 2016 and a market moving election surprise, quarter one’s market moving news was downright mundane. The stock market just rolled along, ending the first quarter solidly in positive territory.

It was a particularly strong quarter for international stocks, flying in the face of negative predictions earlier in the year, international stocks closed the quarter up +7.9%, as measured by the MSCI-EFFA index. US stocks also posted strong gains, the Dow Jones Industrial Average up +4.6% and the Standard and Poor’s 500 up +5.5%.

All-in-all a positive consensus permeated the first quarter with US consumer confidence reaching a 16-year high. New job growth slowed but overall employment remained strong. The second quarter will bring first quarter earnings and a possible Fed rate hike in June. Another rate hike has already largely been built into the market and would be welcome news to fixed income investors.

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“The four most dangerous words in investing are: ‘this time it’s different.'”

                                                                                                              – Sir John Templeton