Starting just about at the bottom of the dramatic plunge at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the prior twelve months have proved remarkable from a total return standpoint. In the latest quarter, stocks furthered a ramp out of the downturn’s trough.
Though domestic stocks continued to rise in 2021, international stocks furthered their strong performance. Emerging market stocks showed particular strength. While still strongly positive, volatility behind the latest quarter’s results continued to reflect the uncertainty of the when and what of a post-COVID world.
In fixed income, rising yields in the U.S. have shifted recent returns to the red. Treasuries losses continued in the first quarter as rates rose (rates have been on a general climb since August 2020). Stronger economic prospects remain a primary driver, but concerns with regard to future inflation also lifted yields. Credit spreads surged on the macroeconomic uncertainty introduced by the pandemic, but have remained tight (though biased higher) in 2021.Q121 SAM Quarter In Review