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Market Commentary

EQUITY MARKETS

The S&P 500 Index declined in March for the second consecutive month pushing the overall results for this widely followed U.S. equity index into negative territory for the first quarter of 2018. This was the first negative quarter for the S&P 500 since the third quarter of 2015 and stands in contrast to the record highs seen in January, a month that saw the S&P 500 gain for the 15th consecutive month following the presidential election in 2016. Most major U.S. stock indices, including the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ, Russell 1000, and Russell 3000 closed lower in March. The Russell 2000 Index, a measure of small capitalization stocks, stood out with gains in March. In the latter part of March, the S&P 500 came close to retesting the lows from the 10% sell-off in early February, but the index bounced off those levels to close out the month. However, this late month move was not enough to overcome all the declines that occurred earlier in the month, and this index closed out March and the first quarter in negative territory. While not matching the levels from February, volatility remained elevated in March after it had been rather dormant during 2017. International stocks struggled in March as well, although emerging market equities still enjoyed positive results over the first quarter of 2018. One recent trend reversed as small cap U.S. equities outperformed large caps in March and on a year-to-date basis. Growth stocks still hold an advantage over value stocks for the first three months of 2018, although results were more mixed for the month.

FIXED INCOME MARKETS

The notable rise in 10-year U.S. Treasury yields that began 2018 paused in March. After closing 2017 near 2.4% and hitting a multi-year high of around 2.95% during February, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury moved lower in March, closing the month at about 2.74%. Overall, this decrease in interest rates led to most fixed income sectors enjoying positive returns in March, despite most remaining in negative territory year to date. The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index and U.S. Treasuries turned in solid gains in March, but high-yield bonds declined. Conversely, year-to-date results were largely negative across most fixed income sectors, but high yield bonds (while negative) still showed some of the best relative performance compared to longer-dated U.S. Treasuries and investment grade corporate bonds.


Definitions of Indices - 
S&P 500 Index is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. You cannot directly invest in the index.

Dow Jones Industrial Average - The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a popular indicator of the stock market based on the average closing prices of 30 active U.S. stocks representative of the overall economy. 

NASDAQ Composite Index measures all NASDAQ domestic and international based common type stocks listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market. 

The Russell 1000 Index is an index of approximately 1,000 of the largest companies in the U.S. equity market.

The Russell 3000 Index is a market capitalization weighted equity index maintained by the FTSE Russell that provides exposure to the entire U.S. stock market. The index tracks the performance of the 3,000 largest U.S.-traded stocks which represent about 98% of all U.S incorporated equity securities.

The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index is an index, with income reinvested, generally representative of intermediate-term government bonds, investment grade corporate debt securities, and mortgage-backed securities.

 

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra IS or Kestra AS. The material is for informational purposes only. It represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. It is not guaranteed by Kestra IS or Kestra AS for accuracy, does not purport to be complete and is not intended to be used as a primary basis for investment decisions. It should also not be construed as advice meeting the particular investment needs of any investor. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.

 

Clear Path Advisory, Inc.
1777 Reisterstown Road Suite 285
Pikesville, MD  21208
T - 410 486 5242
F - 410 486 5243
E – ben@clearpathadvisory.com
W- www.clearpathadvisory.com

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Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS.  Clear Path Advisory, Inc. is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS.

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