The second quarter of 2017, in a lot of ways, was similar to the first three months of the year. U.S. stocks were nicely positive, with Large Caps (i.e. S&P) leading Small Caps (i.e. Russell 2000) and Growth leading Value. The Technology sector continued its blistering pace, finishing the first half of the year positive approximately 15%. Believe it or not, the Technology fund we’re utilizing from T. Rowe Price nearly doubled that mark. Interest rates finished lower, even with two rate hikes from the Federal Reserve, yielding a nice six-month return for bond investors.
As you’ve come to know; Sloy, Dahl & Holst always practices a globally diversified approach, and the benchmarks we compete against hold approximately one third of their positions in International equities. This has proven to be a prudent long-term approach, producing greater overall returns than investing solely within the U.S. The value of this discipline can be easily forgotten, especially during times of domestic equity dominance like we’ve seen the last handful of years. However; it will prove out again and the first six months of 2017 may be the beginning of that next chapter, with International equities taking a firm lead to begin the year.
Listed below are returns of five major indexes, through the second quarter:
BarCap US Agg Bond + 2.27%
S&P 500 + 9.34%
Russell 2000 + 4.99%
MSCI EAFE (Europe) + 13.81%
MSCI EM (Emerging Markets) + 18.43%
It’s likely unreasonable to expect that the back half of 2017 will yield similar returns to the first six months, but time will tell. What we do anticipate, however, is a similar shift to Value as we saw in late 2016. Most notably; with U.S. banks recently passing all stress tests and the regulatory environment beginning to ease, we expect the Financial sector to be one of the brightest spots for the remainder of the year. We also believe interest rates will continue their recent trend, from the middle of June, and ultimately finish the year higher than where they started. This wouldn’t present anything disastrous for bond investors, but doubling returns from the first half of the year is unlikely in our view. Lastly; we believe International equities will continue their recent run, further outpacing U.S. stocks throughout the back half of the year.
Thank you for your continued confidence and support. As always, please feel free to contact us directly if there’s anything we can do to help.
Sloy, Dahl & Holst, Inc.