Market Comments: As of April 2015
The U.S. economy hit a rough patch in the first quarter, expanding at a paltry 0.2% annual rate. Low energy prices reducing exploration and production activity, a rapidly strengthening dollar, poor winter weather, and a dock workers’ strike on the West Coast all likely weighed on growth. Some of these events are likely transitory though, and a spring rebound could be in order. The housing market will be key if a return to stronger growth materializes. International stocks continue to outperform their developed world peers. Year-to-date, the MSCI EAFE and MSCI Emerging Markets indices are up 9.16 and 10.10%, respectively. This compares to a positive but much lower 1.92% gain for the S%P 500. Bond markets remained relatively quiet until the last few days of the month saw German bond yields spike upwards, which led interest rates on domestic fixed income higher as well.