- Major U.S. stock markets posted their BEST FIRST QUARTER RESULTS SINCE 2013 despite Congress’ inability to agree on a health care bill and a weak oil market this month.
- The S&P 500 finished the month on a positive note, posting a 1% gain
- Top Sectors: Technology (+2.6%), Consumer Discretionary (+2.1%)*
- Bottom Sectors: Financials (-2.8%), Telecom (-1.2%)*
- Growth continued to outperform Value in March by 2%, making it the third straight month of outperformance and leading by 5.7% year-to-date
- International developed countries outperformed U.S. stocks this past month, increasing by 2%
- Emerging markets rose 7% higher on the month, making it the best performing asset class this year.
- Long-Term Treasury yields declined in March and ended the month under 2.5%.
- Federal Reserve raised the FED Funds rate by 0.25% on March 15th
- This increase in short term rates and the decline in long term rates caused a sharp flattening of the yield curve in March. A flat to inverted yield curve is often used to measure economic health.
- The unemployment rate dropped to 4.5%, signaling that the economy is nearing full employment
- The Fed’s favorite gauge of inflation, the Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) measure, came in at 1.8% in February, slightly below their long-run inflation target of 2%**
- Many Federal Reserve officials project we will see at least three rate hikes this year, while investors are only projecting a 50% probability of two rate hikes, with the next one most likely to come in September**
Asset Performance 3/31/2017**