Investment Pulse: Q2 Edition

Contributed by: Angela Palacios, CFP® Angela Palacios

It has been another busy quarter! Check out some of our meeting highlights!

Andrew Adams, Senior Research Associate to both Raymond James Chief Investment Strategist as well as its Chief Economist

The Center had a chance to hear firsthand from one of Raymond James leading research associates. Andrew Adams paid a visit to our office this month to discuss the global market outlook. Andrew discussed how Raymond James believes that the U.S. equity market is still in the middle innings of a longer-term secular bull market that is more reminiscent of the post-WWII era and the 1982-2000 bull market than that of the 2000s decade. In response to questions about how the market could continue to go up without a major pullback, Andrew discussed that although the market pullback in the winter of 2016 was not technically a bear market (the S&P 500, which is heavily weighted towards large-cap tech stocks, only declined 15.1%), the average stock in the S&P 500 did decline 25% during that period. Andrew explained that Raymond James remains cautiously optimistic about U.S. equity markets going forward.

Scott Davis, Portfolio Manager of Columbia Dividend Income Fund

Scott gave us an update on where he sees markets now. Debt has been steadily expanding which indicates to him it is particularly important not to give up on quality at this stage of the market. Eight straight years of equity market gains make this the second oldest bull market since World War II. The run-up in stock prices also makes stocks expensive relative to corporate earnings growth, a potential risk factor going forward in his eyes. As the margin for safety has narrowed, he believes that any miss on expectations is likely to be punished, which makes careful stock selection even more important. That being said, Scott believes the American consumer is in good shape, and an expanding economy continues to provide a favorable environment for the equity market.

James Cook, Equity Specialist from Hermes Investment Management in London

This was our first conversation with the London-based firm. We were excited to discuss their Emerging Market strategy. This is the only dedicated Emerging Market strategy with an ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) mandate available to us. He spoke to us about the importance to remember that Emerging Markets aren’t a homogenous region. The sector is made up of very different countries spread all over the world that are driven by dissimilar factors. Many investors think that it is a space highly correlated to movements in commodities, which is true for some countries and company’s but not all. They apply research held to a developed market standard that they apply to emerging markets giving them a bias for high-quality positions.

That’s what our Investment Department has been up to for the second quarter of 2017. Please stay tuned to other insights throughout our Investment Week!

Angela Palacios, CFP® is the Director of Investments at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.® Angela specializes in Investment and Macro economic research. She is a frequent contributor The Center blog.

Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse the opinions of Scott Davis or James Cook. The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any information is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks that is generally considered representative of the U.S. stock market. Keep in mind that individuals cannot invest directly in any index, and index performance does not include transaction costs or other fees, which will affect actual investment performance. Individual investor’s results will vary. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Please note that international investing involves special risks, including currency fluctuations, differing financial accounting standards, and possible political and economic volatility. Investing in emerging markets can be riskier than investing in well-established foreign markets. Investing involves risk and investors may incur a profit or a loss. There is no guarantee that any statements, opinions or forecasts provided herein will prove to be correct.