- Income Report Card | September 2017
September 12, 2017
- Income Report Card | August 2017
August 10, 2017
- Income Report Card | July 2017
July 10, 2017
- Income Report Card | June 2017
June 14, 2017
- Income Report Card | May 2017
May 8, 2017
Global stocks had a decent month with the MSCI All Country World Index ending the month of August with a gain of 0.44%. However, nearly all this advance can be attributed to the emerging markets (EM). The MSCI Emerging Markets Index gained 2.23% for the month of August while the S&P 500 Index gained 0.31%, the MSCI Europe Index gained 0.06% and the MSCI Japan Index lost -0.05%. Small-cap stocks continue to have a rough time, as the Russell 2000 Index declined by -1.27% on the month. Because of the strong August performance, the MSCI Emerging Markets is up 28.29% year-to-date, nearly three times the gain of the S&P 500, which is up 11.93% in 2017. Last month, we discussed the impact of currency and that much of the gains in foreign stocks and bonds can be attributed to the rise of the euro and yen relative the dollar. Since this has been a key macro event driving foreign assets, it should be no surprise that August’s lackluster returns for foreign stocks was accompanied by a decline in the U.S. Dollar Index, which fell -0.21% for the month.
July was generally a good month for all global markets as the MSCI All Country World Index increased by 2.79% led by the emerging markets (EM), which increased by 5.96%. EM was led by some of the larger economies, including China and India, which increased by 8.89% and 7.70%, respectively. U.S. stocks reached new highs in July as the S&P 500 Index increased by 2.06% and the CBOE Volatility Index reached record lows. From a sector standpoint, it is hard to put a label on July’s increase in the S&P 500 as the top sectors were a mix of 2017 favorites, such as technology, and some of 2017 laggards, such as telecom. Europe outperformed the U.S. and increased by 2.99% led by some of the peripheral economies such as Portugal and Ireland, which increased by 5.42% and 4.67%, respectively.
June was a bit mixed for foreign stocks. Emerging market (EM) stocks led the way with a gain of 1.04% for the month followed by Japanese stocks, which increased by 0.96%. U.S. stocks pulled ahead of Europe this month, posting a gain of 0.62% while European stocks declined by -0.45%. Currency continued to play a vital role in performance as the U.S. dollar declined relative other major currencies. In fact, European stocks did far worse in their local currency, posting a decline of -2.53% in euro terms. Bonds had a wild ride in June with the 10-year Treasury beginning the month at 2.21% and gradually sliding down to 2.14% (a year-to-date low), but jumping back up to 2.31% in the final trading days of the month. The move pushes the yield back into an earlier trading range that, if sustained, may see rates increase as much as 0.30%. For the month of June, global bonds fell 0.09% because of the increase in rates, U.S. high-yield corporate bonds increased 0.14% and EM corporate bonds were flat.
May was another positive month for international stocks, which increased by 3.75%, driven by the increasing value of the euro relative the U.S. dollar. In fact, the MSCI Europe Index increased by 4.79% in U.S. dollars, but only 1.65% in euros. Emerging markets (EM) also posted gains, with an increase of 2.97%, although this growth was as bit more organic as currency movement detracted from performance. U.S. stocks increased by 1.41%, bucking the typical “sell in May” mantra. International and EM sovereigns increased by 2.28% and 0.76%, respectively, while U.S. Treasurys increased by 0.83%. Currency also played an important role for international sovereign bonds, as the increase in the value of the euro accounted for nearly 1.50% of the monthly gains. Credit-sensitive sectors gained, but trailed the robust gains in global sovereign markets. U.S. corporate high-yield bonds increased by 1.03% and EM corporate bonds increased by 0.11%.
April once again favored foreign stocks over domestic stocks. International stocks increased by 2.61%, outperforming emerging market (EM) stocks, which increased by 2.21%. U.S. stocks managed to finish the month with a positive return of 1.03%. Global bonds increased by 1.13% during the month with foreign bonds outperforming domestic bonds driven by appreciation of foreign currencies against the U.S. dollar, particularly the euro. International and EM sovereign bonds increased by 1.79% and 1.70%, respectively, while U.S. Treasurys increased by 1.70%. Credit-sensitive sectors gained, but trailed the robust gains in global sovereign markets. U.S. high-yield corporate bonds increased by 0.81% and EM corporate bonds increased by 1.48%.
March strongly favored foreign stocks over domestic stocks. International developed stocks increased by 2.8%, slightly outperforming emerging market (EM) stocks, which increased by 2.5%. U.S. stocks managed to finish the month with a slightly positive return of 0.1%. Overall, U.S. markets didn’t favor income-producing stocks, as utilities, U.S. real estate and MLPs all declined during March. Global bonds increased by 0.2% during the month with foreign bonds outperforming domestic bonds. International and emerging market sovereign bonds increased by 0.3% and 0.4%, respectively, while U.S. Treasurys fell -0.1%. Even credit-sensitive sectors such as high-yield corporate bonds fell -0.2%.
In the third part of this series, we extended our simple ranking system to include risk targeting. This extended analysis produced a portfolio that could deliver higher risk-adjusted returns than a simple ranking system and still deliver a yield in excess of the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index. In the final part of this series we will look at the same strategy and examine its sensitivity to changes in interest rates.
In the second part of this series, we outlined how a simple ranking system, using yield and momentum as ranking data points, can provide current income in excess of Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Bond Index with a level of risk similar to the index. This process solved the problem of excess risk in a simple buy and hold strategy of high current income asset classes. For the most part, an investor could simply stop at the ranking system and likely get what they need to achieve their financial objectives. But can we improve on the simple ranking system? Yes we can!
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