- A rally on the last trading day of November capped off a month of relief for the market in the form of easing inflation and optimism surrounding a potential slowing pace of U.S. rate hikes. The S&P 500® posted its second consecutive month of gains, with a total return of 6%. The S&P MidCap 400® and S&P SmallCap 600® were up 6% and 4%, respectively.
- All S&P 500 sectors finished higher with Materials in the lead and every reported U.S. equity factor index also rose, led by High Beta.
- Performance among commodities was mixed, with gains in Industrial and Precious Metals and declines among Livestock, Agriculture, and particularly Energy.
- Shrugging off disappointing “Big Tech” earnings and still-elevated inflation, hopes for a slowing pace of U.S. rate hikes helped the S&P 500® to its best month since July, with a total return of 8%.
- Outside the tech titans, earnings figures have been relatively encouraging and smaller companies have been riding the positive sentiment to double-digit gains. The S&P MidCap 400® and S&P SmallCap 600® were up 11% and 12%, respectively.
- Every S&P 500 sector finished higher with Energy in the lead and every reported U.S. equity factor index also rose, led by Value and Momentum.
- U.S. equities began August continuing in rebound mode but reversed course to end the month in negative territory after a hawkish Fed and recession fears weighed on investors. The S&P 500® posted a loss of 4%, while the S&P MidCap 400® and S&P SmallCap 600® performed similarly with 3% and 4% declines.
- All factor indices posted losses, with High Beta and Growth in the rear.
- Most sectors posted losses; Energy and Utilities were the exceptions.
- After a tumultuous first half of the year, U.S. equities staged a stellar comeback in July, driven by Big Tech outperformance and anticipation of a potential slowing in the pace of future rate hikes by the Fed. The S&P 500® posted a gain of 9%, while the S&P MidCap 400® and S&P SmallCap 600® performed relatively better.
- All factor indices posted gains, with High Beta and Growth in the lead.
- All sectors posted gains, with Consumer Discretionary and Info Tech in the lead.
- U.S. equities faced a challenging February, with escalating geopolitical concerns including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine along with uncertainty over the Fed’s rate hike trajectory resulting in the S&P 500® briefly trading in official correction territory. Smaller-caps outperformed, with the S&P MidCap 400® and S&P SmallCap 600® both up 1%.
- International performance was also disappointing, with the S&P Developed Ex-U.S. BMI down 1% and the S&P Emerging BMI down 3%, as swings in oil prices amid Ukraine-Russia tensions roiled markets.
- High Beta was the only factor to post a gain, with Growth in the rear.
- Anxiety about impending rate hikes as well as a tapering in asset purchases by the Fed to combat inflation led to the worst monthly performance for U.S. equities since March 2020, with the S&P 500® down 5% in January. Smaller caps performed even worse.
- International performance was also disappointing, with the S&P Developed Ex-U.S. BMI down 5%. The S&P Emerging BMI, down 1%, fared slightly better, aided by strong performance in Latin America, although headwinds included Ukraine-Russia tensions as well as the Fed’s hawkish stance.
- Given the risk-off sentiment, Dividend and Value strategies led. Growth was the laggard, down 8%.
This report features world capital market performance and a timeline of events for the past quarter. It begins with a global overview, then features the returns of stock and bond asset classes in the US and international markets.
The report also illustrates the impact of globally diversified portfolios and features a quarterly topic. “All-Time High Anxiety”.
Click HERE to download a full copy of the report.Q4 quarterly-market-review
- Despite the ongoing pandemic, record inflation, and looming rate hikes, U.S. equities had a banner year, with the S&P 500® reaching 70 closing highs on its way to a 29% return. Mega-caps outperformed, with the S&P 500 Top 50 up 31%.
- International performance was positive, with the S&P Developed Ex-U.S. BMI up 11%. Emerging markets managed to eke out a gain, with the S&P Emerging BMI up 1% despite large losses in the S&P China BMI, which makes up almost 40% of the benchmark’s weight.
- All sectors posted gains in 2021, led by Energy, up a dramatic 55%, a stunning turnaround after its 34% loss in 2020.
December 2021 Market Review
- It was not entirely smooth sailing for U.S. equities in November, as concerns about the Omicron strain coupled with less-than-transitory inflation and accelerated tapering by the Fed roiled markets during the last three days of the month. The S&P 500® posted a loss of 1%, outperforming mid and small caps, as the S&P MidCap 400® and S&P SmallCap 600® declined 3% and 2%, respectively. Volatility spiked, as the VIX® closed at 27.19.
- Growth led among factors, followed by a number of defensive strategies, including Quality, Low Volatility, and Dividend Aristocrats.
- Among sectors, IT led, followed by Consumer Discretionary, while Financials lagged.
- U.S job openings fall to 10.4M
- PPI for final demand +0.6% in Oct.
What to watch in the week ahead: Retail Sales.
Inflation has heated up significantly this year as surging consumer demand collided with supply shortages across major sectors of the economy. CPI inflation has been tracking above 5% year-over-year since the start of the summer, with the latest year-over-year gain in CPI at 5.2% overall and 4.0% excluding food and energy. The year-over-year gains in inflation have been amplified by declines in prices a year ago, but supply chain issues have been a problem. In particular, the global semiconductor shortage has increased the prices of a wide range of goods throughout the economy, and most notably for autos. These higher input costs have sent inflation higher, as well as a general recovery in prices of air fares, restaurants, and rents from their pandemic lows.