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July 2, 2020
Lamenting the Bounce?

The U.S. equity market rests just under 8% from its February 19 peak. Cue worries that we’ve come too far, too fast. Near-term stock valuations may look extended as revenue and earnings sink. There’s no end yet in sight for the pandemic, and U.S. elections are just around the corner. But, as the bulk of […]

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June 6, 2020
Familiar Themes

Among the equity market themes one learns early on is that market history is not prologue: past performance is not indicative of the future. We learn, too that market performance is not always positive. Another important premise is that diversification is your friend. These themes apply to the relative performance of the groups of stocks […]

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May 11, 2020
Time for Value...Now?

Value stocks have underperformed their Growth peers by a gap never wider in history, leaving some to suggest it’s time to throw in the towel. But history shows that when the performance on a long-held strategy is at its relative worst, generally speaking, it’s best to stay true to your defined approach. More than hope […]

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April 16, 2020
Q1 2020: Quarter in Review

The first quarter of 2020—and hopefully only the first quarter—will go down in history as among the more chaotic periods of investable market activity. Though markets may be recovering, they likely will remain volatile as new data clarify the macroeconomic effects of the coronavirus outbreak and the supply tensions/demand drop-off in energy markets. That likely means recession or worse for perhaps part of Q1, most or all of Q2 and potentially beyond. This latest episode of market tumult is another stark example of the market’s ability to amp anxiety, even as we can recognize the events of the first quarter as echoes of similarly turbulent periods in history. We otherwise will seek to remain focused on stabilizing investment paths that route to longer-term financial outcomes.

Download PDF: Q120 SAM Market Review

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April 1, 2020
In the Thick of It

Through the end of March in a pretty remarkable turn of trends, the domestic equity market rebounded 15% over the course of six trading days after the Federal Reserve let loose a rainbow of market support mechanisms and the U.S. Congress passed legislation worth more than $2 trillion in budgeted relief for U.S. businesses and workers. With peak-COVID in the U.S. likely still in the future, and with the macroeconomic impact still only very vaguely estimable, it’s easy to think up reasons to believe the rebound has gotten a bit ahead of the fundamentals. Even so, with the market still well off its February peak, we think history will show that patience amidst heightened volatility was rewarded over time.

Download PDF: 0420 SAM Commentary

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March 31, 2020
Maintaining Perspective (Intro)
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March 31, 2020
03.28.2020: CIO Note

In the following video, Mark seeks to provide additional perspective regarding recent market volatility. Importantly, this video is not presented as an investment recommendation. The approach described may not be right for everyone. No one watching or listening to this video should take our comments as advice specific to or appropriate for their individual situation. […]

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March 15, 2020
Records Set, Tolerance Tested

After the day before turning in its fifth-worst day in history—its worst single-day performance in more than three decades—on Friday the S&P 500 turned around to record its tenth-best daily return in history. That it ended on a strongly positive note may have been little relief for the anxious, as the index remains down just under 20% from its February record peak. The two-way volatility we saw last week offered a strong reminder that remaining invested during times of market tumult generally has proved the better course for those with reasonably long investment time horizons.

Download PDF: 20200315 SAM Market Update

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March 11, 2020
Bearing the Bear

As markets roil, it’s increasingly evident that the eventual depth of this downturn will depend on the breadth and duration of the dual contagions now spreading across the globe: the coronavirus outbreak and the oil price war. With the actual disease threatening human life and macroeconomic growth, potential duress in the energy sector threatens to jump from oil companies into the financial sector and beyond. Headlong into the market plunge, we sought some perspective—and even some reassurance—from history. Though we find a wide range of durations for past market drawdowns, just as obvious from the data is the fact that, in its having reached another peak just a few weeks ago, the equity market eventually recovered from every prior drawdown.

Download PDF: 20200311 SAM Market Update

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March 9, 2020
Stockpiling On

Investors needn’t another layer of uncertainty, but received one anyway over the weekend after a meeting of members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its partner countries (together OPEC+) collapsed. Saudi Arabia slashed prices and matched threats from Russia to increase production. Meantime, COVID-19 cases surged in the U.S. and in Europe, with sovereign and local governments implementing increasingly strict measures to contain the spread. With global growth already suffering from coronavirus pressures, contagion took on another meaning as investors began to worry about an oil sector-driven credit crisis. Risk markets tanked around the world as U.S. Treasuries soaked up that anxiety. When we wrote in last month’s commentary that we always should be expecting the unexpected, we didn’t think we’d find so soon such a stark example.

Download PDF: 20200309 SAM Market Update

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