Donald Trump’s pro-growth message spurred a post-election U.S. equity rally. Domestic stocks again outperformed most foreign markets, as the strong U.S. dollar suppressed overseas returns. A post-election sell-off left investment-grade bond returns barely in positive territory for the year. The high-yield market rallied in sympathy with equities.
A post-Brexit rally has pushed global returns higher. International equities have lagged U.S. for longer time periods. Strong bond returns were supported by weak global growth and a status quo Fed. High-yield bonds have performed well following the 1Q nadir.
Performance of the U.S. economy is uneven. Investment, manufacturing and international trade are lagging. A confluence of events, including weakness in corporate profits, a struggling energy sector, sagging overseas demand and a strong U.S. dollar have depressed these sectors.
The U.S. economy continued its plodding pace in Q1. Employment trends remain strong, but consumers are spending grudgingly and the industrial and export sectors are weak.
U.S. stocks finished on a high note, but barely positive for the year. Emerging markets continue to lag. Yields rose in anticipation of Fed action, producing negative bond returns in Q4.
Doubts persist over global economic and earnings growth while U.S. expansion is expected to continue at a moderate pace. Elevated volatility is likely to continue in Q4.
U.S. expansion is back on track after a weak Q1, though slow global growth trends continue, especially in key emerging markets. In Europe, the Greece debacle is distracting from better economic and market conditions.
A sluggish start to 2015, but U.S. expansion is intact. Europe is finally showing signs of life, while many emerging economies struggle. Developments abroad should have larger than normal impact on U.S. markets.
The U.S. is posting impressive growth as the expansion broadens, but many other countries are struggling with too little growth, too much inflation or both.
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