Small caps have materially outperformed large caps in 2018, with the S&P SmallCap 600 Index outpacing the S&P 500 Index 7.80% to 2.58% between Dec. 29, 2017, and May 25, 2018. Below, I highlight the drivers of small-cap returns this year, and why I believe the trend could continue.
US interest rates have defied market expectations in recent years, staying historically low despite solid economic growth. But in the last year, and especially the last few months, rates have started to climb.
There are many determinants of stock performance. Corporate earnings, fiscal policy and interest rates can all influence the equity markets. But equity returns are also dependent on where we stand in the economic cycle.
Interest rates continue their upward trend. In March, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) hiked the federal funds rate by 25 basis points to a target range of 1.5% to 1.75%, citing strength in the US labor market, a low unemployment rate and moderate economic growth.
Effective May 14, 2018, new regulations will be adopted aimed at increasing the transparency of bond pricing. The new rules require dealers of corporate, municipal and agency bonds to clearly disclose bond markups and provide retail investors with relevant price comparisons.
Equity volatility, the prospect of rising interest rates and an uptick in issuance may bode well for the asset class.
The last time we wrote about the US dollar London lnterbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) was in 2016, when the spread between LIBOR and the Overnight Indexed Swap (OIS) rate increased due to market dislocations leading up to US money market fund reform. Now in early 2018, we have seen LIBOR rates rise and LIBOR-OIS spreads widen again, causing us to ask the same question — what’s up with LIBOR?
Technology companies are known for innovation, and it doesn’t take long for a revolutionary new technology to take hold and become a part of people’s daily lives. In my view, investors shouldn’t be threatened by technology. Rather, they should be skeptical of companies not utilizing technology to its fullest potential.
Equities experienced heightened volatility during the first quarter of 2018, with the S&P 500 Index surging 7.55% from Dec. 31 2017, through Jan. 26, 2018, before dropping nearly 8% through quarter-end.
The recent ruling reverses a longstanding tax policy affecting MLPs’ interstate pipelines.