The Markets – U.S. equities ended the month of December up 0.98 % as measured by the S&P 500 Index. Year-to-Date the S&P 500 is positive 19.42%. A quick look at the stronger and weaker performing areas of the market, as reported by Morningstar; Large Cap Growth topped all other asset classes with an average gain in the category of 28.30%. Regionally the top performer was the Indian markets with gains of 45.10% for the year. The top performing sector of the market was the Technology sector clocking in with gains of 35.83%. In the bond market we see that the average Emerging Market Currency fund category lead the year with gains of 13.14% and our US corporate bond fund average returns finished the year with gains of 5.63%.
Washington – We received our Christmas present from the current administration in the form of a new tax bill. WCM will be writing more about this in the near future. In January, when Trump took office, the expectation was that we would see less regulation, a repeal of “Obamacare” and an infrastructure plan in addition to the tax bill. We did not see a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and we have not yet seen an infrastructure spending plan although we remain hopeful. We have seen some movement in the regulatory environment but expect more to come in 2018.
The Economy –Real GDP has maintained above 3.0% annual growth rate and could come in nearer 4% once the 4th quarter numbers come out in January. The strong US GDP number sets the stage for a very important and perhaps fruitful 2018.
Headlines- As we ring in the New Year it seems like every year is dubbed “a year like no other”. But 2017 truly has been one of the most dramatic years in recent memory. Geopolitically, perhaps the biggest story is the increased tensions with North Korea. The other top stories of the year have ranged from a hurricane season like no other to bomb shell allegations of sexual misconduct in Hollywood and Washington. Of course there are the headlines surrounding President Trump that range from his Inauguration to the Mueller Investigation. On a more tragic front the Opioid epidemic has begun to make national and international headlines, we had the massacres in Las Vegas and closer to home in Sutherland Springs and the NFL became front page news with many of the players refusing to stand for the National Anthem.
A bit about our traditional New Year’s song: Auld Lang Syne: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auld_Lang_Syne
“Auld Lang Syne” …. is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. It is well known in many countries, especially in the English-speaking world, its traditional use being to bid farewell to the old year at the stroke of midnight.
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