Market Comments: As of February 2016
After a dismal start to the year, the stock market bounced around between gains and losses through the month of February. In the U.S., the S&P 500 suffered a small loss of 0.13%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average eked out a 0.75% increase. Most companies have now reported earnings for the full year 2015, and the results leave much to be desired. Earnings actually came in lower than at the same point in 2014, which likely explains much of the market’s recent malaise. Strip out the severely beaten-down energy sector though and earnings swing into positive territory. International stocks fared slightly worse, with the MSCI EAFE and MSCI Emerging Markets down 1.83% and 0.16%, respectively. Banking issues in Europe, and negative interest rates in Japan have spooked investors in those markets.