Greetings! In the last commentary, I discussed that March has a strong historical track record for stock market investors. The average S&P 500 Index return for the month of March from 1950 through 2015 is +1.06%. However, the month of March in 2016 saw the S&P 500 Index produce a +6.80% gain. This strong performance marked the best S&P 500 Index return for the month of March since 2009, when stocks first started to emerge out of the lulls of the Great Recession.
The table shown below illustrates the March monthly returns, as well as the year-to-date returns for the major U.S. stock market indices:
March was a fantastic month for U.S. stock market investors. In addition to a strong month for stocks, we received exciting news about the notoriety of our office. I feel very blessed that our office was ranked in the top 18 financial advisory firms in the State of Missouri by Barron’s for 2016.
I am very proud that this is the third consecutive year we have been recognized by Barron’s, and I believe it is a reflection of the core financial competencies that my team and I bring to our clients. We will remain committed to treating our clients as friends, we will continue to put our clients’ long-term objectives first, and we will continue to design customized retirement plans built for each individual client or household.
While the stock market has bounced back from a poor start to the year, I continue to believe that volatility is likely to persist in the near future. Some potential causes of volatility are concerns about 1st Quarter corporate earnings reports, future Federal Reserve monetary policy decisions, a slowdown in economic activity in emerging markets, volatile oil prices, and of course, the U.S. federal elections later this autumn.
While every year financial markets deal with a number of potential concerns, 2016 seems poised to experience higher possible volatility across multiple asset classes. Our long-term approach has not changed. We continue to adhere to a basic strategy built around diversification of asset classes, asset managers, and asset management style. While diversification alone does not ensure portfolio profits, it has been proven to help reduce long-term portfolio volatility. Time will tell what 2016 has in store for financial markets, but conditions where volatility persists has many times led toward potential investment opportunities in the past.
Before closing this month’s note, I wanted to thank all of our clients, friends, and sponsors who made the Honduras Street Party Run at the Streets of St. Charles a huge success. We had more than 500 runners who ran in support of our special children in Honduras. Our next major event is the annual golf tournament which will occur in June. For more details, please contact our office. As everyone in our office eyes the end of this year’s tax season, I wanted to remind you all to stay healthy, wealthy, and wise, and certainly . . . stay tuned.