Thursday, April 23, 2015

Investor Letter Spring 2015: Another Weak First Quarter?

The first quarter of 2015 once again was a period where reported data suggests a mixed economic picture for the global economy. Interest rates declined slightly leading to positive returns for nearly all U.S. bond market segments. This was once again influenced by lower yields outside the U.S. and the strengthening Dollar. Worries about an economic slowdown have resulted in Europe, Japan and China incorporating additional economic stimulus via interest rate decreases and bond purchase programs. For many investors, the prospect of weak economic news is good for equity markets as central banks pursue stimulus programs to reinvigorate economic growth. Stimulus seems to create a floor for equity markets as liquidity finds its way into the market.

As we noted in our blog post yesterday, Higher Yield and Value Oriented Strategies Underperforming Broader Market, the additional investor demand for these yield oriented equities, i.e. dividend growth stocks, has not resulted in higher returns. Also, Goldman Sachs notes in a recent report that the dividend yield, high quality and strong balance sheet companies have been weaker performers versus other more growth oriented strategies. The below charts provide evidence of this phenomenon.

From The Blog of HORAN Capital Advisors

Looking specifically at economic growth or GDP, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta notes the weakness in GDP in each first quarter since 2010. Some attribute this first quarter weakness to poor weather. However, the Atlanta Fed notes seasonal adjustments since the Great Recession could be negatively influencing first quarter GDP reports as well. As the chart at left shows, weaker economic activity in the first quarters since 2010 is very apparent. The average GDP growth in the first quarter since 2010 has been .6% versus 2.9% for the remaining quarters of the year. The advance estimate for the first quarter of 2015 will be reported on April 29th and the Fed’s tracking of data shows Q1 2015 GDP at just above zero.

For additional insight into our views for the market and economy, one can read our Investor Letter accessible at the below link.

From The Blog of HORAN Capital Advisors

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