Market Commentary: Fourth Quarter

Market Commentary Q4 2019

Happy New Year!

Global markets finished the year strong. Quarter 4 brought the S&P 500 Index up 9.07% for a 31.49% YTD return. Small companies represented by the Russell 2000 Index rose 9.94% for the quarter to put them up over 25% YTD. International stocks represented by the iShares MSCI EAFE Index also increased 8.17% finishing with a 22% gain for the year. The Federal Reserve did not make any adjustments to the Federal Funds Rate which kept interest rates stable. The Barclays US Gov/Credit 1-5 Year Index was up 0.5% for the quarter and finished the year with a 5.01% rate of return.

At the end of the year, I like to take a look at Google Trends to see what people in the U.S. and around the world are interested in. It surprised me that in a year where the U.S. Congress voted on Articles of Impeachment of the President for only the third time ever, “impeachment” did not make the top 10 list, either in the U.S. or globally. People searched more for the “iPhone 11” and “Avengers: Endgame.” People also searched more for “Area 51 raid” than they did the “Equifax data breach settlement.”

The top person searched for in the world was also the top athlete that was searched for – “Antonio Brown,” but the World’s top news search was “Copa America.” I guess more people are interested in the football that is played with the feet than the one played with hands. 

There are a lot of events that happen throughout the year that impact the weather, politics, sports, financial markets, communities, and many other things. The amazing thing is that most of the information is instantly available at our fingertips for us to evaluate, and global financial markets are a collection of every person or entity that is acting and responding to the ever-changing information. 

The upcoming 2020 year has lots of potential opportunities. We sincerely wish you a happy and healthy New Year!